My mind reacts to terrorist attacks with a bit of an empty-ness. A blank slate with racing thoughts.
Panic. Compassion. Curiosity.
I can’t imagine the panic of the people inside the airport or metro station this morning in Brussels. I also feel compassion for their loved ones all around the world. The quiet moments of waiting for them, whoever they are, and the families who wait forever. Those people are patiently waiting in their homes. Watching the constant news coverage as anchors reach for anything comforting or courageous to say, sounds that people will never remember because they’re waiting.
Waiting for a person, waiting for an answer, and unfortunately – waiting for another attack.
I know this feeling all too well. My mother was in the Pentagon the day the plane hit, September 11th 2001. I remember sitting in my high school classroom, watching the news. I was completely panicked. Phone lines were down and no one was allowed to go in or out of the school without being picked up by a parent. I don’t remember much of what the anchors were saying or even what was happening around me but I will never forget watching each body at it was rolled away from the wreckage, carefully looking at each solder’s legs to see if I could find a unique quality. Anything to know if my mother was alive.
This morning, when I heard the news, I felt those feelings all over again. Watching the tear-streaked dust on people’s faces as they ran and the determined look of families as they watched the news, waiting for a report that would calm their fears. Unfortunately, they won’t get one today. Or for some time. There will be an alert level that doesn’t fall into the color codes of Homeland Security. It will resonate like a ripple in water and change things every day.
For families who lost someone, it will change forever.
I’m thinking of all of you today. Those who are lost, those who are worried and those who will fight in the upcoming years to assure something like this never happens again.