Yesterday. Boston. The Marathon bombings. At home outside Boston, I was in my studio. Waiting from my husband to ride back from the Marathon, where he’d gone to cheer on friends.
Tense moments, not able to reach him, panicked, ’til I saw his bright yellow windbreaker outside the window. Then my personal relief streamed off into thoughts about people who were still panicked, hurt, already knowing their loss or waiting to know.
And even in the shock there was comfort and connection.
There was information. There was information about what to DO. There was information about what was HAPPENING, and it was from varied sources: moment to moment on Twitter, including advice about how to contact beloveds who you couldn’t find: “Don’t call, text, because it uses less bandwidth” or uses less something – it didn’t matter because it was simple advice I could follow immediately.
Then more information: No more blood needed now … but plan to come give blood in a week or two. Housing needed for people stranded in Boston. Go here to add your name.
There was also confusion – seemingly multiple sign-up documents for places for people to stay, conflicting reports about the explosion at the JFK Library. Times when the chief of police seemed to lag behind the Twitter feed.
But there was communication. Multiple points of communication. Multiple points within each point. Different voices from the radio, and different kinds of voices – reporters, public officials, witnesses. And many voices on Twitter.
Some Tweeters immediately seemed to take ownership of the event as if deciding to lead their tribe thrugh it via their own emotions and messages; Some – further away – offered aphorisms – many of which felt inappropriate, as if they wanted to box up the event, the feelings, the experience, the fear, the pain, the loss – package it and go on.
My husband and I sat at dinner inside long swathes of silence that neither of us noticed. As if it mattered, we discussed whether either of us would have been finishing the marathon at that moment, had we run it.
Dazed. Disconnected. Connected. One beautiful day. One tragedy we personally escaped the immediate shrapnel of. And no idea how close or far we really are from that shrapnel. Knowing it’s still flying in ways we can’t know.
Horrified. Shocked. And in the midst of it, grateful for our connection to each other and grateful to be able to know, to be told, to hear from radio, Twitter, Facebook, phone.
The importance of knowing. Of being told. Of knowing how to help. What to do. Where to go.
Even though none of us really knows how to to get through this. Or even what it is.
The One Fund Boston was set up to aid the victims of the tragic events that happened at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. You can donate by clicking the button.