Tragedies like what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon are gut-wrenching. But until we experience something like that firsthand, that's all it is. We feel uncomfortable. Sad. Helpless.
When tragedy actually touches our lives, though - snatching one of our children, burning our brother, breaking the legs of our friend - gut-wrenching doesn't begin to describe the emotional aftermath.
By now, you've read the Observer's story on the Charlotte folks who were hurt in yesterday's Boston Marathon explosions. If not that, you're sure to have seen the photo of Charlotte resident Nicole Gross in shock floating around the Internet. I saw it last night on Reddit.
Rather than use this tragedy to rail on unsecured borders, drone attacks in the Middle East or whatever, let's think about the folks who wish they had been at home yesterday trolling the Internet for news on Boston instead of at that finish line. Let's think about the people who wish they could put one or two words on what they're feeling today.
Our creative director Melissa Oyler has never run the Boston Marathon, but she knows the feeling of elation after completing a run like that. She posted this status on Facebook last night after finding out her participating friends were OK.
I know the elation of approaching the finish line at a marathon. The feeling of absolute joy and accomplishment. The crowds sharing in what was, for me, one of the greatest moments in my life. Looking over and seeing my family, cheering me on, my dad crying tears of joy and my mom with happiness all over her face. My sister, who came to run the last mile with me, and my brother, my fellow marathoner. Colleen was holding a sign and my husband Jeff was capturing it all by camera. Marathon 2 I had Jeff and my father-in-law Big Gray, who got up before dawn to walk me to the start line and then waited hours for me to cross the finish.
Today was the marathon of marathons. This should have been the greatest moments of their lives. Friends and family, cheering and waiting for hours for just a glimpse of someone they love to fly by (or crawl in) on their way to have Their Moment.
My heart is broken.