I have never been to the Boston Marathon to cheer or to run and maybe I never will.
Today, on the first anniversary of the terror and violence that was unleashed at the finish line, my heart is heavy for those who were there and for those who were left to wonder about the safety of those they loved. My heart is even heavier for a young woman I have come to know on twitter who was there and saw too much. This is for @laulaubird...
While I wasn't there in Boston when it happened, this past year has left me feeling, in some ways that I was. That is not to say that I know what you are feeling and how deeply you suffer, particularly on this day. It is to say that your experiences have impacted me. I am devastated to know that your life is forever colored by such a senseless act of violence. I don't know you any more than a few tweets and a few direct messages, yet somehow, I am connected to you because I am struck by your candor.
In 140 characters or less, I can see the kind of day you are having, and I am amazed at the amount of information that can be shared so succinctly. I have seen the videos and I have seen the Sports Illustrated feature on the attack, but the imagery that impacts me the most comes from that which I piece together in my mind after reading your posts.
I can only imagine the state of shock and disbelief you must have experienced as you saw innocent athletes and spectators with wartime-like injuries all around you. I have pictured this in my mind as if through your eyes, countless times. Imagining this nightmare through you brings tears to my eyes as I write and I feel a squeezing pain in my heart. You and all the others are innocent and undeserving of the events of that day and of the physical and psychological sequela that is now yours.
The memories of the chaos of sights, sounds and smells that enveloped you must be unbearable at times and I wish I could wipe them from you. I wish you could go forward without the burden of all these things that have undoubtedly changed you. But you can't. The damage is done. I wish we could sit down and drink it away. But we can't because more damage would be done than it would serve to help.
I will not presume to understand what the past year has been like for you. I know it has been further complicated by the inability to do what you love which is running, but what I do see is a strong woman who will mend on all fronts. That is not to say that you will be without vulnerabilities or bad days or setbacks, but it is to say that you will once again be mentally and physically strong.
I look forward to the day you once again run that marathon with your head held high knowing that you are #BostonStrong. I will be cheering loud and proud from where ever I am. As I have known heart break and disaster through your eyes, so too will I know the thrill of victory as you cross the finish line as a survivor.
Thinking of you