My little brother was about 7 or 8 years old the first time we saw my dad run the Boston Marathon. I remember how excited we were to watch for the winner, to spot the first woman finisher, and then to watch for my dad. I remember my mom seeming a little stressed -- probably worried about my Dad, as she always did during races, but also struggling to keep an antsy and excited little boy from climbing the barriers, jumping in the street, sitting on the curb.
When I heard about the little boy who was killed in yesterday's attack in Boston, it was my brother's face from long ago that I saw in my mind. I felt like someone punched me.
Marathons are beautiful. If you've never been to one, please don't let this deter you; check one out sometime. It's athleticism in its purest form -- one person struggling against him or herself to do something most people can't do. It's one of the only sporting events where elite athletes and weekend warriors take part in the same event, competing against one another. The comaraderie is amazing -- among the runners, but also among the crowd. I don't know many other times where people will line the streets of an entire city to cheer on complete strangers. The positive energy is intoxicating. Ordinary people get to be heroes for a day.
I know that Boston and the marathon will bounce back. Beauty and goodness always prevails over evil. I'm grateful that my blogging friend Beatriz and her family, who were at the event yesterday, are safe. I'm grateful for the first responders and all those who helped in the midst of terror, and I know that the grief and fear will fade. Today, though, I can't help but be brokenhearted for all of those affected, especially that little 8 year old boy who was waiting to see his hero cross the finish line.