A mother’s mind after the Boston Marathon bombing

Oh my God, what? A what? Where?

Checking Twitter.

Sick to my stomach.

Who do I know in Boston? I need to check in with them.

9/11 flashbacks.

I don’t want to see the photos.

Okay, one photo.

Fuck, why did I look at that.

Have to call my friends. Have to call my family.

Those statistics are going to go up.

Where are my kids? I need to get home to them.

Wait, were there kids there? There must have been kids in the stands. Oh my God.

Can’t go there.

I remember watching the Marathon out my window of my apartment senior year in college, cheering Rick Hoyt and his dad with the rest of BU as they passed through Kenmore Square.

I forgot this person who live in Boston. And that one. And oh my God, that one–isn’t she a runner?

What can I do to help?

I’m liking 400 things on Facebook. Not sure who that’s helping. No one. Someone. We’re just connecting. Somehow. Connecting.

Still sick to my stomach.

Wait, the NYC marathon was cancelled this year. Could it be that…?

Can’t go there. Won’t go there. Lalalalala.

The problems at work? Not such big problems.

I need to get home.

The subway is extra terrifying right now.

There have been a lot of cops in New York subways the last two weeks. Did they know something? Is that possible?

I need to stop checking my phone. I need to get off social media.

An 8 year old…oh my God. No words. I’m so sick.

I need to stop imagining that it was us.

I need to stop imagining that we were there.

I’m not watching the news tonight.

I may never watch the news again.

Will every marathon now be a reminder of this one? Will every Patriot’s Day in Boston now be a memorial?

What can I do to help?

Maybe it can wait until tomorrow.

Now I’m turning off my phone for real.

God the kids smell good.

What do I tell them?

I’m not telling them anything.

Let’s make a playlist. A playlist for Thalia’s Glee Club filled with all the songs I normally wince at. We’ll dance. We’ll learn the One Directions lyrics together. We’ll eat lots of carbs.

It’s a pasta night.

I could watch Sage’s crazy dance to Dynamite all night.

Let’s make brownies, brownies sound good.

Let’s cuddle and hug and eat brownies and stay up too late watching a movie and they don’t even have to know why.

Let’s read one extra chapter tonight.

Let’s spend way too long saying goodnight.

Let’s hug without saying anything at all.

I’m not watching the news.


[thanks to huffington post for linking this up. And to everyone for their thoughtful, poignant comments and reflections. I hope we can continue coming together more than we divide.]


32 thoughts on “A mother’s mind after the Boston Marathon bombing”

  1. I know the feelings. I had to write through it or I was going to drown by it. I feel like the only way I can make sense of it is to report it, so it becomes facts and less personal but its not helping. I have an 8 year old and all I want to do is hold my 8 and 5 year old and never let them go. Hugs mama. It;s a crazy world, full of crazy people but then look at the good in people. The people volunteering to give blood, people offering to give food, shelter and hope to perfect strangers,t he humanitarian offering to pay for people to get home. There is good in the world. There is good for our children, we only need to survive the bad moments and move through them with grace and love and appreciate every moment with our loved ones because we never know when might be our last.

    1. I am so heartened by the good people. Someone on Twitter (before I logged off, for real) posted similar -that they were encouraged by the photos of cops running towards the explosion and not away.

      I have to keep looking at the world that way. I’m glad to see you do too, Debi.

  2. I spent way too long hugging my kids tonight. And then I wrote words… trying to process today. You aren’t alone. I think every blogger is struggling with what to say.

    1. I didn’t think I had anything to say. Just all these random thoughts. So yeah…you’re absolutely right.

      1. But I loved the rawness and intimacy of your random thoughts. It’s a great picture of how we respond to something huge and horrible. It’s comforting to see because I think secretly, we all think we’re the only ones having those random thoughts bombard us. (we aren’t).

  3. So this was a first for me with a college son living in Boston. He was not in that part of the City and I only had only a fleeting moment of worry. What I had was a reminder, once again, that I cannot protect him or his brothers from tragedy, as much as I would like to believe otherwise. The first? He called me a bit shaky, he had just realized, I think, that I cannot protect him.

    1. Oof, that’s so profound and heavy. Another milestone that we never consider.

      Above all, so glad to hear he’s okay.

  4. I tried to be strong, but when the girls got in the car after school, I burst into tears.

    I wrote through it too. It just shattered me.

  5. I too had random thoughts that I was not sure I could string together –

    I had such a moment of panic b/c as Jackson learned about the incident – he right away texted his friend to ask about his father who was running – and, I just kept thinking…what if this boy had not heard from his father?

    I love what you say about ‘liking’ 400 things on FB. I did that, too – I think it made me feel like I was at least doing something.

  6. Your words gave me goosebumps. Because, even though there are really no words, somehow yours all made sense.
    Thank you.

  7. I’m actually here in Boston for a workshop this week. My fellow luthiers and I were so busy watching demonstrations and taking notes we didn’t even know something had happened until some in the group started getting texts from people asking if they had heard about the bombing and were they okay. We didn’t really have time tune in to any of it, so we just kept working. I didn’t hear details until the drive home.

    My mind just goes in loops about wondering what anyone thinks they will accomplish causing terror and heartache among innocent people, and realizing that anyone who thinks this forwards their cause is not rational enough to know it won’t. The pointlessness of it is so infuriating, and trauma so unnecessary, I’m not even sure how to process it.

    And all I know is my kids are too far away to hug tonight.

  8. Liz, this is perfect. There are no words but you somehow found them. I did the same thing tonight – ice cream, extra time playing and a late bedtime with no explanation. Thanks for this.

  9. Liz, you helped me by just putting your random thoughts out there. Sometimes its okay to not pretend that any of this makes sense.

    This morning I ran for the paper. Why? I don’t know. But then my 5 year old said, Mama, can I see the pictures? I folded the front page like crazy so that only one picture would show… the one with all the bright yellow vested people. Something really really bad happened honey, but look, all these people ran to help.

  10. I wrote through it, too. I’ve been at the finish line of a marathon, more than once, with my kids. While we are on the other side of the country, it felt like it was down the street.

    I told the kids that something bad had happened. My boy said, “I wish people wouldn’t do that. It’s mean.” My daughter said, “Did anyone die? How old were they?”


    So, we had a talk about living in fear, and how if we change our ways because someone is trying to scare us into it, that’s when we find our strength and courage, stand up, and keep going. I had this conversation with the kids while I was driving Girl Child to running practice.

    1. “It’s mean.” That’s exactly how my daughter would respond too. The innocence is crushingly beautiful. And I love how you’re talking to them. I’m going to use that, thanks.

  11. I checked Twitter and Facebook a bit. And then I stopped. I feel like I owe it to the runners to look, to SEE, TO FEEL WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM. And yet. I refused to turn on the TV. My husband is a news junkie. He picked the remote up one time and the look I gave him may have paralyzed his index finger. I am angry that my character seems to be changing. I used to be so carefree, so trusting — not naively, mind — and now? Now I feel the urge to say fuck everything way too often. I know I shouldn’t give anyone else, certainly not a fear creator, the ability to change me. And yet…

  12. I had to, just HAD to focus on my son, who lost his first tooth yesterday and my children in general because they are here and safe, THANK GOD. BUT, my day went much like yours, like this post.

    And then I had nightmares all night, you know, after I dropped money under my sleeping son’s pillow.

    I hate this.

    1. Isn’t it reassuring to know there are still fairies in our children’s worlds? I like that.

  13. Yes. There were a few extra chapters last night. And there probably will be tonight too. And maybe tomorrow. Because each time this happens it takes longer for things to feel “normal” again. If that even exists anymore.

  14. Perfectly written.
    It’s so hard to explain stuff like this to children. Wish I could put them in a bubble.

  15. My thoughts were the same, but not. My children are too far away for me to hold. To give extra kisses to and chapters. But they are safe and that’s what matters. And I couldn’t stop watching the news, stop watching social media. I can’t stop thinking about it. Wanting to talk about it. Grieve about it. But most of all “let’s hug without talking about it.”

  16. SHOPLIFTING is not allowed in America nor is murder. This woman has lost her mind. Jews and Christians, Hindus and others, your lives mean nothing to these butchers. To lie is allowed in the Koran. The end justifies the means Liberal Americans you are like those who did not believe what Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf. NEW YORK WAS ALMOST BOMBED. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

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