On Hope, Coping and the Boston Marathon

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My husband- always there for me- showing off my first marathon medal.

Today I was going to post Jenny’s story about her 8 year struggle with infertility, and her amazing happy ending. But with the news from Boston yesterday, I have to write what’s weighing on my heart right now.

Although I’ve lived on the west coast for almost a decade, Boston is home. I met my husband there, and have so many friends and family there- fortunately they are all ok.

The marathon is a sacred event to me. Ever since I was a little girl, I’d go to the Boston marathon with my uncle and watch the runners, inspiring in their strength and dedication, as I dreamed of one day running it myself.  Yet, after seven marathons, that qualifying time still eluded me.

My last marathon was in 2010, just weeks before I was scheduled for my first IVF cycle. That cycle ended in miscarriages, and for the next two years, I gave up running, along with what seemed to be all of life’s pleasures (alcohol, chocolate, coffee- and of course sex- since that’s off-limits with IVF.)

When it came time for my third IVF cycle- my last try- I comforted myself with the thought that if it failed, I’d do whatever it took to qualify for Boston that year. We had a positive pregnancy test- and then to my disbelief (even today I can’t believe it) our daughter arrived nine months later.

Had I qualified that year, I would have been running the marathon yesterday. I likely would have been finishing just around the time that the bomb went off. My husband, my sister, my family and friends would have been at the finish line for me. It chills me to think of it.

Once upon a time, (in my pre-infertility days) I blithely believed that “everything happens for a reason.” Now I know better. Sometimes good things happen- and sometimes bad things happen to good people- for no reason at all. I was incredibly lucky that my third IVF worked, and I’m fortunate that I wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time yesterday. But others are still waiting to complete their families  and  some families’ loved ones are gone forever. It’s unbelievably heartbreaking. And there’s no good reason for it.

All we can do is to make something good (as best we can) from something bad. In the case of Boston and the other events we’ve had to bear recently, these terrible things can be the motivation to give an extra hug, a kind word to a stranger, to help someone in need.

In the wise words of Mr. Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

During dark times in our lives, whatever the circumstance, we need to remember to look for the helpers. And sometimes step up to be the helper. 

Sending love to you all.

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