Cathartic Reflections: All Eyes On The City Of Boston
My hands shook as I attempted to flip through the contacts in my cell phone to find his name. I fumbled to press the name glaring back at me. My cell phone began dialing and I put the device up to my ear praying to God for him to pick up. My heart was racing. Tears were already leaking out escaping down my cheeks. When I heard his voice greet me, I couldn't help but still hold my breath. My heart had stopped.
He had answered.
"Thank God you answered," I gasped.
We exchanged a few lines of conversation. He told me that he was fine and that they were fine. They were safe. That's all that mattered, right? When we hung up with our 'I love you' and goodbyes, I stared at the screen until it went blank out of no use. I then openly succumbed to the overwhelming need to completely break into tears.
The moments before I rushed out to my car to grab my cell to call my brother could only be described as absolute panic. From the moment I found out about the bombings at the finish line during the Boston Marathon from a coworker, I had rushed back into the office and quickly looked up the current news about the Boston Marathon. Coverage of the aftermath of the bombs with the pictures and live streaming media of the actual event slammed into me.
I had left my cell phone in the car to charge while I was working and I rushed to my car. I had received a text from my boyfriend telling me to call my brother, because Boston had at least two bombs go off, that they were finding more bombs that hadn't gone off, and that Boston was being shut down.
Normally, I don't like giving out information on where I reside, but I guess this can't be avoided. I am a New Englander. I live in Massachusetts. My boyfriend and I have walked that street that the bombs were set off on. I have friends as well as family that live in Boston and I know people that went to the marathon as well. On my social media accounts, friends and acquaintances had their own personal stories related to the Boston Marathon bombings posted.
Reflections Upon Traumatic Events Within The Last Couple Decades
It struck me how in the last couple decades the number of traumatic events that have happened on U.S. soil during my time. I was in middle school when the Columbine High School shooting happened on April 20th, 1999. I was in high school when the two airplanes smashed into the Twin Towers in NYC on September 11th, 2001. I was in college when the Virginia Tech shooting happened on April 16th, 2007. Now in just in 2012, there was the July 20th shooting that happened at the Century movie theater at the midnight showing of Dark Knight Rises and the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th. There are so many more events that have rocked the news stations with traumatic events.
I do remember where I was when Columbine happened as well as 9/11. All of the other events, I had learned about from others and the news. I remember sitting in my sewing class watching the TV that had been set up centered in the front of the classroom. I had watched the second airplane collide into the second Twin Tower. I remember coming home from school, getting off the bus, and seeing my mom getting the mail. She had a look of such sadness and despair on her face that it made me so scared. I had never seen such a look to grace my mother's face. I had asked her if everything was going to be okay. It was the first time that I remember that my mom couldn't offer me any comfort. She told me honestly that she didn't know. There were tears in her eyes. That feeling of hopelessness is something that I will never forget.
Until It Happens To You
With the amount of traumatic events that have happened, I never had anything hit me this hard until yesterday. Yes, the events of 9/11 shocked and devastated the U.S. and the images still cause chills to rush up my spine. I remember watching these images. It's like watching a movie with these horrific images. You can imagine a person's pain and see the heavy weight of pain of the victims on pictures and videos, but it's not the same.
It's not the same when you hear their stories of calling loved ones and praying that they hear their voice on the line. You don't really get it -- the desperation, the feeling of dread, the paranoid panic, the shock, and then the undeniable break that happens that one would probably associate with relief. But it isn't just relief. No, it's bittersweet relief, because you know that people out there are still waiting for their loved one to pick up the phone and to hear their voice on the line.
When my coworker was telling me about her boyfriend's story of not being able to get in touch with his family, I was confused with what was going on. She proceeded to tell me that Boston was bombed. I froze not certain how to react. My stomach dropped. Dread crept in my heart and body. How did this happen? When did this happen? Why hadn't I heard of this sooner? I told her stammering that my brother and his fiancee live in Boston. She told me I should try to get in contact with him to see if he's okay.
So many questions went rushing through my head. Is he okay? He's working right? She's working right? They're okay? They have to be okay, right? What if they weren't okay? What if they were at the marathon like many other people were spending their day off? The bombings happened a number hours before I found out, which made me feel sick inside. What if something happened? What if my family and friends were trying to contact me? I felt numb. I didn't want to believe it happened so I went back into the office and typed Boston Marathon in the search engine to see the undeniable truth. From there, I rushed out to my car to grab my cell.
When I heard his voice, the crushing relief didn't break into me until after the call was finished. As I said before, it doesn't really feel like relief, because you still feel this desperate nausea and exhaustion. Later, I looked over the videos and pictures. Seeing the images in a place that I've been to personally, it rocks you to the core, because it makes it even more real. There's a real threat out there. When you go on life without truly feeling the affects of the event, you tend to forget and just live your life. But when it happens and it can't be ignored. This can no longer be ignored.
Too Close For Comfort
Although, I wasn't there in Boston during the Marathon. I hear about the injuries suffered by many. Many of them having their limbs amputated. The loss of life still breaks your heart. To see the life of an 8 year old to be snuffed out so young and with the release of the name of one of the other victims. All I know is that all of the victims whose lives were claimed were young. They said the other victim was a BU student.
My heart and prayers go out to all the victims and their families. I can't imagine the feeling of loss that they have suffered. I think what hurts the most is that my birthday is tomorrow on the 17th. If something would have happened to my brother or his fiancee, it would've happened during the week of my birthday. This is the second event that has happened near my birthday. With the Virginia Tech shooting that happened in 2007 the day before my birthday and now this, it makes it difficult to celebrate life, but it also makes me feel more grateful for the life I've been given.