It has been a tough week, and I am exhausted. I live just outside of Boston, and the bombing on Monday shook me to my core. I’ve cried every day this week. I’ve cried for the three people who died (including a young boy), I’ve cried for the hundreds who were injured, and I’ve cried for the individuals who will never be able to erase the sights, sounds, and smells of that terrible incident from their memories.
And I’ve cried for myself, for the fear that has overwhelmed me since I first heard the news of what happened, in the middle of a lovely afternoon at the park. The sun was out, the weather had finally warmed up, and the girls and I were having a great time. And then another mother told us that two bombs had gone off at the finish line.
I haven’t been able to find my footing since then. I was sitting in meditation this morning, and every time I closed my eyes, I felt as though I was going to fall over. I finished my meditation with my eyes open.
My daughters, just two and four, have no idea what happened, and I have no intention of telling them. I’d love to tell you that even as my mind and heart are reeling, life at home has gone on as usual. But it’s not true. I’ve been feeling anxious and scared. Not unlike when my daughters feel similarly, I have been a bit crispier, a bit more fragile, a bit more likely to crumble around the edges. When that happens, I lose my patience, and I snap at the girls.
That is the painful irony of, course. I take out my stress on the people most important to me, the ones I am most terrified of losing when something like this happens.
The reality is that just as I will never be the same person that I was before 9/11, I will never be the same parent that I was before the marathon was bombed. More than ever, I am inspired to find ways to stay present and grounded in the moment so I can engage with my children, my friends, my community, and myself from a place of strength and kindness, rather than fear and anxiety.
And so I sat this morning. I sat and breathed and nearly fell over. Rather than giving up and putting off my meditation for another morning (as I so desperately wanted to do), I opened my eyes, felt the ground beneath me, and I stayed. In that moment, if only for a moment, I felt a respite from the sadness over what has happened and anxiety about what may yet come. In that moment, I found a little bit of strength and a little bit of peace.