In the aftermath of Boston, I’ve tried many times over to sort through my emotions about the horrible tragedy that occurred. It’s nearly impossible to describe what it’s like to achieve one of the greatest moments in your life, and then seconds later to witness one of the country’s greatest tragedies.
I think the best way to explain it would be to imagine you were delivering twin babies and one died in your arms. Perhaps this is extreme, but I am trying to find the words to explain my feelings. So here I am left with one great joy, I labored many years to achieve this moment only to have part of it ripped from my arms. I have the beautiful medal, I have the memories leading up to the event, all of my hard work paid off that day, and yet, there is this looming sadness. I am supposed to be happy and celebrating this accomplishment, but I have lost the joy that should come with it and I am mourning. The dark images of the day are tattooed in my memory. People tell me I should celebrate my success, and I know that I should. Yet, I find myself crying for the victims, the spectators, the people of Boston, and the runners. I am devastated by the damage.
I don’t want my success to be overshadowed by terror, but I can not get the image, the sound, and the feel of the bomb going off out of my mind. I feel like my achievement means so little in comparison to what happened, but for some reason everyone around me is telling me to celebrate… It’s utterly confusing. My mind is befuddled.
I feel overly loving one moment, and apathy the next. I feel exhausted, but I can’t sleep. I feel so grateful to have my children, and annoyed by them in the next moment. I weep. I lash out at the people around me.
Generally, I am someone who sorts through my inner demons pretty well, and this time I find myself in a mind battle. So I do what I always do when this happens: I run and write. Unfortunately, it’s still not becoming clear.
I feel in a daze a lot. My answer to everything is “I guess.” Perfect example: Are you happy about your great achievement? “I guess.” Do you want a salad for dinner? “I guess.” Are you sad about the bombing? “I guess.” Are you feeling ok? “I guess.” Do you want to run another marathon? “I guess.” Don’t you think you should unpack from your trip? “I guess.” Are you OK? “I guess.” I am filled with uncertainty. I don’t know what what to do, how I feel, or what the answer is. I just don’t know.
For a few days I felt frozen in emotion and, just when I felt like things were turning a corner, I received the news that my Uncle has lost his battle with lung cancer and passed away on Friday. I am numb, once again.
My father goes in for heart surgery on Tuesday, a surgery that he has had multiple times before and it has been unsuccessful. If it fails again this time, I’m not sure what will happen. I can not bear one more heartbreak. Ironically, neither can he.
Running Always Helps
Usually, when I write I do so because I have an answer or have reached some place of enlightenment. But this time, I am just pouring my heart and soul out to you. This is me, all me, on my knees and hurting. I know I will pull through this, because that’s what running has done for me: taught me to keep moving forward one step at time, even in the most painful moments.
Running has taught me that I have a running family outside of the one that I was born into, to lift me up in these dark days. It has taught me that when you struggle, you become stronger somewhere down the line. It has taught be to have hope, to be believe in myself, and to persevere in the darkness.
Despite being so uncertain about everything else, when all I can say to every question is “I guess,” if you were to ask “do you want to go for run?” my answer is a solid and resounding “YES”. Other than my husband, running is the only thing that never wavers in my life. It is my rock, my church, my foundation, my light. I think of all of the victims who are left unable to walk, let alone run, and I can barely catch my breath. I am all over the place in a state of disorientation. Previously, I was plainly in disbelief and now the events that have occurred are settling into my mind… it’s overwhelming.
Life seems different. Life is different. Someday in the near future, I will write a detailed race report, if for nothing else so that my children may look back and read about the fruits of my labor becoming a reality. Although, we will move forward and recover, right here, right now this wave is a big one… So here we go to ride this storm out, one step at a time.