When Life Changes in an Instant

Yesterday morning as I dealt with the excitement of filing my taxes, client conference calls and other typical work responsibilities, I was texting back and forth with an old friend of mine. This friend was enjoying “Patriot’s Day” sitting at a bar in Boston while watching the marathon. I teased him about his day drinking; we discussed an upcoming event we both plan to attend. Nothing out of the ordinary, until all of a sudden I had to text to ask him if he was all right based on the fact that a bomb exploded right where he was enjoying his afternoon.

My friend is fine, thankfully, as are all the other people I know who were in the Boston area. But when events like this occur, I can’t help but be reminded what it’s like to have your life change in an instant.

ONE SECOND. You have life before it … and life after it.


No, I’m not talking about a melodramatic, “… then our eyes met from across the room and at that moment my life changed forever” bullshit. But rather, the (frequently unplanned) times when really, truly, the train that is your life (heading towards wherever it is supposed to go) jumps its track, and all of a sudden is heading in a completely different direction (yet, of course, still carrying all the same baggage … and then some). Heading towards your new normal.

A cancer diagnosis. A terrorist attack. A near-death experience. Finding out about a spouse’s torrid affair. The unexpected death of a loved one. My life-changing moment happened when I was driving in my car down Route 50 East, right around the Target near where Falls Church meets Arlington. The baby shower I hosted was over, and I called my parents (after seeing several missed calls on my phone) to be informed that my brother had hung himself and was dead.

Life before Nov. 1, 2009 … and life after. My train jumped its tracks on Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va. BOOM.

An event like Boston makes me think of the people that will struggle to grasp what happened and how surreal it all is. Hopefully the numbers of deaths and injuries will be small; the psychological impact will obviously be enormous. How long it takes to sink in as people try to come to terms with what happened is anyone’s guess … why were they a part of it … why are they so unprepared to deal with what’s next.

My heart aches and breaks for those who were affected by such a ridiculous, tragic, horrifying situation. Nearly four years later I still don’t know where the hell I’m headed, or how and why I got here (sorry for the self-pity moment). I guess this is my very long-winded, self-absorbed way of saying my heart, my thoughts and my love is with you, Boston — today, and in the long healing days ahead.

Life After Normal

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