This week, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of inspiration and of “sharing your story”. After my last blog post, I received the following beautiful message.
This blog started as a Facebook note. I wanted a way to just put out exactly what I needed to say without having to tell each person in my life. I could barely talk the first week, let alone tell every person I saw how I was feeling, especially in that first week when I was mainly numb and shaking but couldn’t put it into words. Then it turned to more anxiety and horrible sadness when it all really hit what I saw and experienced. Over time, it was such a roller coaster, I had to continue blogging so that anyone who really wanted to know what was happening could read it. I also wrote for me, to get it all out of my head so I could look at it and at least try to process it all. Sometimes a lot of people read, sometimes, barely anyone. I would get beautiful comments or emails from people reading to send me their love, give some kind words, reassure me, or just simply say they were thinking of me. I appreciated every one of those messages more than those people can know.
I felt so alone the first year and also felt like others were almost afraid to talk to me but I also felt I didn’t want to talk to many people. My head was like a constant replay of that day and when it wasn’t, it was just full and going nonstop. Writing it all down, got some of it out of my head. Then, there were the feelings. I couldn’t really explain to people what I felt. Sometimes, I felt numb, sometimes I felt horribly sad and as if I’d lost a piece of my soul, (that was the only way I could describe it). Sometimes, I just wanted quiet. I couldn’t handle a lot of social situations. Noise bothered me, small talk sometimes bothered me, crowds bothered me. The small talk thing was sort of funny but I realized after a while that there was a part of me that couldn’t understand how we could just be chatting about nothing when people died and so many had such horrific injuries, when something so unbelievably tragic happened. But, not everyone experienced it the same way and so, small talk was okay. I just couldn’t do it all the time. Then, of course, there was the constant anxiety. I can say that for a full year, I didn’t breathe right. I realized at one point that I had been breathing shallow for a long time. My chest was almost always a bit tight, I had a lump in my throat that would just change in size, but almost always there. And of course, the shaking. People got used to it, new people didn’t know what to do, some even came to joke about it or just be able to ignore it while I sat with them for an hour or more and just pretend it wasn’t happening.
So, blogging helped. I could say whatever I wanted and get it all out without having to do it to everyone’s face. I was exhausted enough from it all. Blogging has been worth it. I’ve made new friends because of this blog. People have told me they understand better what it was like to be there and go through it all since then. Others have been able to relate. It also helps me go back to reflect on where I was and where I am, to see how far I’ve come. So, my advice to anyone going through ANYTHING is share your story. It doesn’t have to be a public blog. But, we tend to be so closed up, no one want to share their own personal life or bother anyone. But then, we suffer in silence when we could have more support. When you share, you find that others can relate, that others could have been through the same thing or something similar and you never even knew. Everyone always wants to pretend they're fine even if they're not. Now, there's a fine line between begin dramatic and negative all of the time and being honest about what is going on in your life. Some of the people who inspire me most are the ones who share their story but still find the positive, still help others, and continue on, despite their struggles. It makes me want to hear their story, to hear what they are going through.
The children always inspire me most. I wrote this on April 29, 2013:
"Thank goodness for the innocence of a child which shines through with a light that is profound and filled with infinite wisdom...and has the ability to humble us grown ups into a true reality."
I've had a lot of thoughts over the last two weeks. One that I always think and now more than ever is "look to the children." Children have a way of inspiring and reminding us that we are all born pure. They remind us that there is unconditional love, kindness, and faith. They show us how to carry on and give us a beautiful view at what the future can hold. In times like this, we should be careful not to show them hate and anger because that is how they will learn to cope. Instead, we should teach them love. Or we look to them to teach us love even if our first instinct is to go to an angry and hateful place.
I was having an okay day yesterday before I started to get a tightness in my chest that has become all too familiar since the marathon. I felt I had to get out of the house and saw that my friend's daughters were having a lemonade stand to benefit the one fund. I knew that was where I needed to go. It was amazing that they wanted to do that. Compassion and love are found in these seemingly little gestures. The girls had lemonade, cookies, and also had cards they made that they were asking people to sign for first responders. A man came up and talked to them and gave them $20. They then asked if he wanted to sign a card and I watched his face change. I could tell he got choked up. He told them he was there that day and thanked them as he walked away. The older daughter then ran after him to give him a card.
These girls have big hearts and chose to do something good. They cannot possibly understand what it means to the people who passed by, those of us who are struggling and need to see that goodness to help in healing, and especially the people who helped and were injured that day. Their kindness and generosity shows the good in the world and how they will grow up to both embrace and to teach Peace and Love.
Jane and Henry are shining examples of resilience. Every time I see Jane at an event, she is so bubbly, with a big smile on her face and chatting with everyone. Henry is playing sports and being a kid even with all he's dealt with and will continue to deal with. Kids are resilient. They are more resilient than adults. We have too many worries and we know too much which leads to more fear, more negativity. Kids see the good, the positive, more than we do.
We all know Martin's words, "No more hurting people. Peace" These words have sat with us for two years. We never would have seen this 8 years old's simple, yet unbelievably powerful message if it weren't for that day. Children are smart. They are observant. They don't make things complicated like we do. Let's listen to Martin. Let's remember him best by living his message. The way to peace is to start with ourselves. We need to find happiness and peace within each of us and spread it around.
Start working on finding your peace.