His name was Martin Richard. He was 8 years old and standing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon waiting for his father, William, ready to cheer, and congratulate, and hug. Then the explosions came out of nowhere, and Martin was killed, never to cheer, congratulate, or hug anyone again.
According to WHDH, he was from Dorchester, Mass., and his whole family was there rooting for their father. His 6-year-old sister Jane lost a leg in the explosions, and his mother Denise is currently in critical condition after suffering a brain injury. An older brother was reportedly not injured.
As a runner and former Bostonian with family still in the area, the bombings have shaken to me to the core, as I can too easily imagine my own family standing at that finish line waiting for me. But for any mother, nothing is more painful than seeing a young, innocent life like this taken away in such a cruel, senseless act.
Just as with the Sandy Hook shootings and other tragedies that we see unfold, it makes me look at my children and want to never let them go, to forget about college plans, and healthy nutritious meals, and making them make their beds, and forcing them to use a fork to eat their whole wheat pasta instead of their fingers. Why not let them eat bowls of Skittles with a spoon if it makes them happy? Did I really waste my breath nagging my son this morning about not putting away his clothes neatly? Does any of it really matter when life can end just like that? It makes me want to pull them into my bed, snuggle under the covers, and stay there forever where nothing can harm us.
I know rationally that we can't stop living life and planning for the future because of incidents like this. I know that we have to focus on the good or evil wins. I believe there is more hope in the world than heartache. I know those things, but looking at Martin's face, I have a hard time embracing them now. I say the words to my children, but I don't feel them.
But I will continue to try, because as parents, it's our job to be strong, to show our kids what resilience means, and to love and nurture them so that they can go into the world and do good. So we will pull the covers off, put on our brave faces though our hearts are grave, and we will try to reassure them when we feel so unsure about anything in the world right now. Because that's what parents do.
How are you coping with the Boston Marathon explosions?
Image via WHDH