April 17, 2013

Hanging on to Innocence

Every Sunday night a reminder crosses my mind to sit down and update Jill’s blog. Then I put the chicken in the oven. Swap the laundry in the basement. Bathe Jill. Feed the dog. Go to sleep. I like to record our short and precious weekends in this electronic diary. It’s no secret that our lives are busy and time flies by. All of the sudden it’s Monday morning and we’re back on the highway heading into the city. This Monday was Patriots’ Day/Marathon Monday and the day Boston – no America – was attacked.

Just after 3pm I was sitting in a meeting, running the slides from my computer, when the news broke. My colleagues and I actually knew moments before the news broke from texts and phone calls from people there, waiting for their friends and family members to cross the finish line. Our meeting continued. Wait, is that weird? I think so. The focus shifted and people left the conference room to take phone calls and frantically track people down. Our meeting kept going and I didn’t pay attention. I nodded my head but wasn’t sure what I was agreeing with. A classic presenters’ oversight, I left the email pop-ups enabled while the meeting preparation slides continued.

The first email came from my husband at 3:12, “Explosion went off at the finish line of the marathon a few mins ago. Could be interesting to get home today. Sounds like a mess.”

“OMG I’m dying a little on the inside” – Heidi

“You have the news on?” – John Keane

Our meeting continued and I tried to focus.

Texts, phone calls and Facebook messages filtered in all evening and throughout Tuesday. Many friends from our Air Force days checked in. For the first 2 hours or so following the explosions my cell phone went dead. Networks were overloaded and I’m honestly embarrassed I was trying to make these calls when runners and spectators near the finish line were looking for their family members.

I logged into Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Friends running that day were safe. Friends watching were safe. An 8-year-old boy cheering on his Dad was not. A 24-year-old graduate student was not. A 29-year-old woman who never missed a marathon from the finish line was not. Many, many more were severely injured and will likely lose limbs.

Tony turned on the TV and before he could change the channel Jill noticed the smoke. He told her they were camping and quickly found a kid-friendly show (mostly likely Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy). I haven’t watched the news. I’ve barely read any story content. Headlines and pictures are as far as I can go and I don’t want Jill to get even that far. Let’s keep this world as innocent as possible for now.

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