We often think the plane won’t fall out of the sky or even so, it will not be us who is on the unfortunate plane. The risk is low and the chance is so small that we believe nothing will get to us. But just then, the “unthinkable” happened in Boston. No one expected that. People were cheering and waiting for their family, their friends to finish the line. Who could imagine losing their loved ones on a beautiful, sunny day like that? Who could imagine that their life would be completely changed after just a blink of an eye? It could have been just another day. But it was not. I remember reading somewhere there was some mention of the attack 9/11. Apparently, the Boston Marathon Bombing was not as horrific as the attack 9/11 in terms of damage levels and numbers of death but the news, the pictures and all the stories of those specific victims did give me the feel of it. I was startled. I was scared. I was just speechless. I was not quite ready for something like this. It’s like it could have happened right here, right now and maybe to myself and my loved ones. And it could be just the start of something more horrifying.
A fight, a stab, a gun shot, a kill. They are everywhere on the news. Every single day. Humans are violent and some just lose control of themselves — for whatever reasons — I wouldn’t be surprised much. But a bombing attack — it’s something else. It’s just too much for me to reason or picture how things like that could be handled or how life could carry on. It’s too random, too unpredictable. Innocent lives lost are permanent. The victims and the witnesses will carry the physical and psychological wounds possibly for the rest of their life no matter how big the significance is. It’s happening, right now, right at this moment for some people and it can happen to just anyone, anywhere while we are powerless to protect ourselves from such attack. This thought scares me. As I looked at the picture of the 24-year-old man who lost his limb and read the article about “life after limb loss” on BBC News — you know, one individual, how specific and particular it is? — I just couldn’t help but relate myself to it. What if it happened to me or my family? How would I feel if I lost a leg, an arm or even just a finger? How could I come to terms with it? Honestly speaking, I don’t know. I can’t imagine. I don’t want to.
There are times I thought about death. I was crying while telling my sister that I did not know what my purpose of living was. I complained about how things were not happening but all I had was just the dullness of the everyday life. But at that point, I just didn’t realize how easy it is for a life to be taken. Or I probably forgot. I forgot that I was there when my grandfather — the second mother and father to me, who raised me and without whom I wouldn’t be the one I’m now — got into an accident and passed away a few months later. And I was there when my sister told me that my uncle had Cancer and the family should be prepared for it. It was when I realized that life is constantly changing. Perhaps we don’t notice because we’re so carried away with trivialities but it’s happening. Right at this moment hundreds of babies are being born and many others are having their last moments. People are fighting, stabbing, shooting, killing, having cancer — just somewhere in this world. That we cannot see doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s like smoking. It kills you gradually but you just haven’t found out yet. Or perhaps you refuse to see.
There are times we think about death. But only when we are facing it do we realize how ridiculous we have been to even think about it. We might not know our purpose of being born into life but we know one thing that when a tragedy like this happens, it’s our instinct to feel fear and grief. It wakes up all our senses and blows into us the feel of life. We feel relieved because it was not us. We feel scared because it might happen to us and our family. We don’t want it to happen. We want safety and peace. We desire to live and it’s just natural that we strive to live so much. Yet, it’s a shame only a moment like this could we realize the significance of life.
Everyday, I have food to eat, I have friends around, I go to school, my family is safe and I’m healthy — how wonderful it is! The unthinkable can happen at anytime; thus right at this moment, I’m grateful and happy because I have had today to live and I will remember this.
- Boston runner’s ‘unthinkable horror’ (bbc.co.uk)
- When the Unthinkable Happens (psychologytoday.com)
- The Boston Marathon Bombings: A Parent’s Perspective (theopnation.com)
- Gratitude and #prayersforBoston (eatdrinkbreathesweat.com)
- What Do You Tell Them? (aaronconrad.com)
- Thoughts on acts of domestic terrorism, past and present (mybrowneyedview.com)
- Keep Calm and Carry On (douthat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- What Really Matters (juliajs530.wordpress.com)