Today, I am adding my voice. I am joining the rising crescendo of outrage over yesterday’s senseless attacks in Boston. I want to put something on paper, to get it off my chest, to understand my emotions, to share my anger.
I want to air it out so I can run with a lighter heart.
Yesterday afternoon, when I saw my Facebook and Twitter accounts fill with the news of the explosions, I was stopped in my tracks, productivity forgotten. Someone hurt people. Someone attacked people at a celebrated event that is supposed to be safe, joyful, and inspiring. Someone set off bombs amongst my tribe. Runners. Marathoners. Enthusiasts of something I love to do.
I immediately thought of James, a really great guy I used to work with, whom I have kept in touch with in the years since we were co-workers. He has inspired me with his running (Yes, you have James, you’re part of the influence I hold in my mind when ^%$# gets hard with my running), and this was his third Boston (I believe). Taking to Facebook, I found out he and his group were safe, thank God, had crossed the finish line well before, and were back to their hotels. He had some friends he had not heard from yet, but he was hopeful they were safe.
In the car on the way home, I listened to the voices of the hourly news, trying to glean all the details, needing to understand what had happened. The lump of heaviness was so eerily similar to the news of the Sandy Hook shooting, that I was again thrown into that vortex of mad and sad I have come to know is my initial reaction to senseless acts of violence like this. Mad I couldn’t physically do anything right then and there, sad because of the sheer tragedy of the event. Mad because these kinds of horrific events are getting more frequent, and it seems no matter what security is put into place, it isn’t enough. I was covered in these emotions, feeling completely deflated.
But, I held my %#@* together.
Until I heard James’ voice on the radio.
James had done a guest stint on the CBC Radio 1 Ottawa afternoon show last week. he had talked about his upcoming Boston trip, and his running. So Alan Neal, host of All In a Day, got in contact with him as soon as they could. When James spoke, I lost it. I had to pull over on the side of Scott St., my tears making it hard to see and drive safely. That voice, familiar to me, made the carefully held together seams of emotion rip apart. I sat for a few moments, safely parked, sobbing, utterly lost in a moment in grief. His voice made it real. His voice made it personal. Boston is thousands of kilometres away from here, but his voice transported me there, the hint of stress in his normally happy-go-lucky demeanour echoing as loudly as a shout in a canyon.
In the days to come, we will hear the voices of the runners, of the volunteers and police officers. We will hear the declarations of our leaders condemning the violence, assuring justice, thanking first responders. We will consume sound bites from the event, of people’s reactions when the blast happened. We will read the emotional response from our favorite running bloggers. We will be inundated with the sounds of this horrific tragedy, and learn about the heroism and strength in the face of such adversity. We will feel the outrage.
So today, in the midst of all this, I am adding my voice. What will it achieve? I don’t know. I still have the helpless mad and sad feeling, but it is lessening, being replaced with a resolve to continue to do what I, and all the people who were in Boston yesterday, love to do.