I was in Texas on April 15th, my home away from home. We were slowly gathering from all over the country to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday on Friday. Kat and I were pondering the table decorations and how much BBQ to order when a frantic call came in from France. Her oldest daughter was trying to make sense of the news she had heard of a bomb going off at the Boston Marathon.
The next hour was spent trying to track down the people I love who either run or watch the marathon each year. Tears poured down my face as I tried to explain to my daughter that I was just so, so sad and worried about family and friends.
"It's going to be alright, Sweetheart, it's going to be alright." Later, when it was time to fly back to Boston, this same daughter struggled with overcoming her fears of getting on a plane and heading back to a city that had recently been shut down for a day.
"Daddy and I are not going to put you in a situation that is not safe."
We made it home safely and I began to process the stories of terror and fear that surrounded my loved ones that week: the mother and two children who walked out of the chaos back to Fenway park, praying and crying; the family that could not fly home because the airspace around Boston was shut down; and the friend who stayed inside most of the week.
I listened to these "wicked strong" natives and I heard the change in their voices as they pondered their city, different today than it was a week ago. Not much I could say.
Then I realized that the loss we are all grappling with is the loss of words. I can no longer tell my children that I will not put them in harm's way, because I no longer know where the danger lies. Celebratory events are rigged with explosives designed to maim and kill innocents. I can't tell them that the world is a safe place.
So we will have to come up with new words. Words that describe the runners who kept on running straight to the hospitals to donate blood. Words that tell the story of the first responders who rushed back into the smoke. Words that praise all the medical personal who saved lives by the dozens.
Words of compassion for those broken enough to kill. Words for the children who witnessed such horror but will not be defined by it.
Today, a week after the event, I have never been prouder of my adopted city, and all the modern day patriots that will find new words of hope, resilience, and healing.