I have spent the last 15 hours in a panic of anxiety and fear. The second bombing suspect, the “white hat” was hiding in my daughter’s neighborhood. She was kept awake all night with the explosions, the shooting, the sirens and police lights and helicopters and humvees. I was petrified, thinking of all of that violence right at her doorstep.
We have been glued to our TV’s, our radios, our computers, all day long. Monitoring the updates, the searches, the breaking news, the latest developments. Kate has been in constant touch with us by text and by Facebook. “We are safe!”, she told us, “We are staying upstairs in the bedroom. Too many windows in the downstairs rooms.” We paced, and waited, and sweated and glibly reassured ourselves. “There are a million cops on the street. What could happen?” Then we hugged, wiped our eyes, and continued to stare at the repeating news updates.
I love my daughter more than I love my own life. She is my first born child, my heart, my soul. I am her mother. I would walk on hot coals to keep her safe. All morning long, my racing mind focused on trying to find ways to get to her, or to get her to me. I couldn’t stand the feeling of helplessness that came over me, knowing that she was in danger, and that I could not save her. My sense of unreality increased as I watched the coverage of her neighborhood on CNN, The London Times, Le Monde Paris. Fear had me breathless and weak at the knees.
But a second emotion crept over me today, too, and I am at a loss to explain it.
I am so profoundly, deeply saddened by the idea of two brothers being brought to such a level of despair that they believed it was the right thing to do to kill innocent people for some unspoken reason.
I found myself looking at the pictures of those young men, especially the younger, “sweeter” brother, and I felt my heart breaking for them.
Believe me, I understand that these two men have committed unspeakable crimes. I can see the faces of the victims, those who have died, those who have been so horrifically hurt. I feel the rage of the survivors. I am hurt and angered for those innocent lives. I am. A part of me, not the best part of me, wants vengeance for that little boy, for those bright and happy young women, for their families, for my city, my state, my own family.
It would be so easy to become just as violent as the men who did these terrible things.
But for some reason, the faces of the suspects have reached out and have touched my heart in a very unexpected way. They were brothers, linked by family, history, mutual love and admiration.
They make me think of my sons.
In spite of myself, today my heart was heavy for the terrified, cornered, desperate teen aged boy who was being hunted by all the firepower of the government in our city, our state, our region. I found myself in tears, over and over again, as I thought of him watching his brother die and running for his own life. I found myself weeping as I thought of his parents, shocked and terrified at the unfolding events.
I spent today scared to death for my child. I wanted her safe and free and unafraid. But I also spent today praying that the police would capture the second suspect alive, and would bring him to justice. Not so much because I want to hear his explanations, although that would be some comfort to us all. No, I wanted him to be brought in alive because no matter what he has done, he is somebody’s son. He is some mother’s little boy.
I could not stand the thought of him dying alone and in terror and guilt and grief. I imagined him remembering happier days, maybe days of laughing with his siblings at his mother’s table. I imagined him asking himself, “What happened?”
The better part of me, perhaps, the more human, more humane part of me rose to the surface today. Perhaps it was the mother in me, thinking of my own boys, so close in age to these two, which brought me to tears. Truly, I am not sure.
I am so inexpressibly happy that this killer is in custody, where he can do no more damage. I am so relieved and exhausted. He is caught; my girl is safe. We can all rest at last.
But I am relieved, too, that he is still alive. I am happy that he didn’t bleed to death all alone, desperate and in fear.
He will face what he has done, and he will pay for it. But not alone, and in the dark.
In spite of it all, he is still a human being. And to my relief, it seems that so am I.