The Boston Marathon Tragedy: One Mom's Chain of Events

My 12-year-old son was the first to inform me of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. He received an auto-update from SportsCenter.
04/16/2013 11:11am ET | Updated June 16, 2013
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At 2:50 p.m. yesterday, I was making a pot of coffee before heading out the door to shuttle my 12-year-old son to his Bar Mitzvah lesson. Little did I know that at the same time, two bombs were detonating at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

By 3:15 p.m., I was parked outside the school, sending an email and chatting to another mom.

At 3:30 p.m., my son jumped in the car, started eating a snack, complained about homework and took a look at his phone (which I brought for him to have after his lesson while he waited for me to swing back).

My 12-year-old son was the first to inform me of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. He received an auto-update from SportsCenter.

I did not believe him. There is no way that could happen at the Boston marathon. No way.

Within minutes, my phone was receiving text after text about the incident. I am a runner. I knew people running this event. I sometimes dream about that event, as I know many others do. How could something so upsetting, so brazen happen at an energizing, health-promoting event highlighting a city filled with history?

I flicked on CNN on the XM radio and continued my afternoon of picking up and dropping off kids. I sat in the parking lot, waiting for my younger son to be dismissed from lacrosse, and by the time he got in the car, I had broken into a cold sweat.

How could this have been prevented? Who did this? What will future, outdoor running events look like? Most important, I had to hurry and make a choice: Do I tell my almost 10-year-old son about what happened or not? What do I say?

My oldest was the one who told me! That is the stage we are in -- my son keeps me up on current events (albeit mostly sports-related ones), but he is truly becoming a real person.

An adult, as his upcoming Bar Mitzvah suggests.

We have visited the 9/11 memorial. I have done my best to describe the September 11th tragedy in an age-appropriate way. Now, I had to decide fast about what to say regarding the Boston Marathon tragedy.

I couldn't turn off CNN, so I went for it. I took my chances and explained with tender care that three innocent people (one, we later learned, was an 8-year-old) and a number of people were injured when two bombs detonated on the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

My younger son's first question:"Are you still going to run, mom?"

I thought to myself, How many kids see their parents run, walk, cycle, train for an event that is meant to be healthy? A positive habit? Who thinks all that training, culminating in the day of the event, will result in death due to a bombing?

How many kids had parents running the Boston Marathon, who are now scared, anxious, waiting for some news? My sons' friend's dad finished the race ahead of the blast and was OK, but what about the kids we don't know?

How does something healthy become so violent?

Help me to understand this.

As reports continued to come in, I learned people were having ball bearings removed from their bodies? BALL BEARINGS? It is a marathon, people are supposed to have shin splints and sore feet. Not bodies filled with shrapnel.

What I find the hardest to believe is that my son is 12 years old and he is old enough to study this, remember this and know he was the first to alert me to this tragedy.

At 9:30 p.m. last night, I knew three innocent victims lost their lives, around 130 were injured and that some had lost limbs. I tucked my younger son into bed without knowing who, what or why?