This morning, in the moments before anything else happened, before anyone needed me, or the morning ritual of hugs all around began, I imagined being there yesterday, in Boston.
I imagined the sounds and all I really know of anything this scary, is seeing blood on one of my kids from a bicycle accident. When they are in full swing of play and whooping with all their might, screeching with fun – until they are laid out on the gravel and the screeches change to screams, and the whooping is filled with sobs.
In my before-even-waking state, I was running toward. Oh, Lord, help me be one that would run toward. And everything was a blur, everything got real silent in the midst of a painful moment, I had hot blood on my hands, my heart pounding in my ears, the only sound but my breath. I was holding someone’s wound, and looking into her terrified eyes, and I was telling her to just look at me, to not look down. Silent prayers to anyone and everyone, please do not look down. I am holding this person together by sinews, and the whole world around me is spinning. There are noises, and chaos, and yet, we are in a quiet place in the midst of it all, looking into one another’s eyes, wanting to believe that we can hold the world together if we can just continue breathing.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Hot blood. Screams suppressed are coming to the surface, ear-splitting. Our moment is over. We were not able to save anyone, we just captured a broken, shattered moment, of strangers helping strangers, and calling on every deity we could name.
And I am sobbing. I am in my own house, with my own husband and children sleeping nearby. I do not know anyone who was there. I do not have any connection other than I am human, I have blood coursing through my veins. I go about day in and day out operating in the world not expecting bombs to go off anywhere near me. In these things only, am I similar. And I am sobbing. I don’t want to be afraid. I guess in my tiny way, I am empathizing, and wanting to feel a kinship with the first responders.
For every ordinary person, who became a hero yesterday, for looking into the eyes of a stranger and holding a wound, I thank you. With everything I am, I thank you.
photo from here