My initial response to the reports of the bombings at the Boston Marathon a few days ago was one of reluctance and hope. Reluctance about accepting yet another report of violence, and hope that it would not be too serious. The reality of the event soon became clear to me, however, with each subsequent news report and fact updates.
The thing with such reports is that one's mind tries to shut it out, and with good reason. There's something absolutely troubling and hopeless about the aftermath of an attack like this, regardless of whether it takes place at a market place in Iraq or an international event in an American city. The focus on harming innocent people in order to further selfish goals is beyond infuriating. It drives one to the edge of despair at the realization of so many lives destroyed or forever ruined.
The images of the Boston bombings are burned into my mind, same as for those of other bombings I have seen. There's something savage and brutal about the aftermath of an explosion like that, before one even considers the victims of it. From the gruesome details such as torn off limbs which one's mind can still ignore as being something innocent like a doll's limbs, to ripped apart bodies and those unfortunate enough to still be alive.
All of it just resonates inside your mind as being wrong, shaking the very foundation of your being. For someone like me it doesn't just resonate with that which makes me a caring human being, but also with the memories I had to suffer over far too many years. The stark contrast between a moment of innocent happiness when one is standing there near the finish line, cheering on a loved one or just enjoying the moment, to the sudden turmoil when one finds oneself lying there on the ground with the blast's shock wave still ringing in one's ears. Only to realize with a sudden feeling of numb panic the grievous nature of one's own injuries and forever remembering every single detail of one's surroundings as shock takes over.
At that moment there's just the pain, slowly burning through the numbness of shock. The worry about loved ones and the rush to save those struck down. I'll never forget those images. Not of those with only mild injuries lying on the ground as they got treated. Nor those of people with both legs blown off with just most of the bone still poking out. The moment when we all uncomfortably realize that we're just spirits inhabiting fragile shells of flesh.
Afterwards the anger takes over, as well as the frustration, feelings of hopelessness and despair. To me in many ways following the aftermath of this bombing is somewhat akin to reliving my own memories of what has been done to me. While shrapnel didn't tore away the flesh on my bones, a similar kind of damage was done inside of me. As the victims of the Boston bombings and their families go through the torrent of emotions following the event, all I can do is sympathize with them. I can feel their pain as it's my own as well.
The tears I'm shedding now aren't tears for my own pain, but theirs and mine. Together with those tears there is also the hope for them, me and everyone else that things will improve. That nothing like what any of us went through will ever happen again.
I can not turn back the clock on my own life. Nor can I turn back the clock on what happened in Boston. All I, they, anyone can do is face the future with raised heads, as tears stain our cheeks.