It Could Have Been Me, It Could Have Been You

Apr 16

Like many Americans, I find myself profoundly shaken by the tragedy in Boston. We’ve had too many of these. Too many senseless deaths.

I think this one hits home more than many because it could have been me…

Photo from

Photo from

My ex-husband was a runner, a distance runner. The popular idea of a distance runner is someone very tall and thin with long, long legs. However, the real distance runners are small and slight. Their legs are short, but they just keep moving and eat up the miles. My ex-husband was built like that. He was a natural at distance running and was known to run a half marathon after training for only a week.

During the last few years of our marriage, my ex took up running marathons in a big way, and the children and I were his groupies. We were there on the side of the narrow country roads when he ran a marathon in Mississippi. The humidity was brutal before the sun rose and the “crowds” were non-existant. We were there in New Orleans where the crowds were massive. We moved from spot to spot on the marathon route to cheer him multiple times.

Other times we were race volunteers handing out cups of water and Gatorade to the runners. The sound of hundreds of paper cups hitting the ground in just a few minutes still rings in my ears.

The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail for many amateur distance runners. They know what time they have to have to qualify and what pace it will take to achieve. Qualifying for Boston is a big deal and running in the Boston Marathon is the crowning achievement of the amateur runner’s career.

My ex-husband qualified for Boston shortly after we separated. He ran the Boston Marathon 2 years ago, finishing at just over 4 hours. If my life hadn’t taken a different turn, it could have been me standing next to that bomb when it exploded.

I have a friend who ran in Boston this year. She had finished a few minutes before the bombs exploded. One more potty break and she could have been among the injured. A friend of a friend stopped at the halfway mark for photos. She was a couple hundred yards away from the bombs. It could have been her if she hadn’t stopped.

It could have been you, if your husband or wife had decided to take up running.

How do we respond?

How can we live like this, never knowing when the next tragedy will strike?

We have choices. We can choose to hide in our homes and never trust anyone…or we can choose to embrace life anyway.

This day, I choose life.

I will live with joy until I die. I will love again even though love ends. I will laugh when life is funny, and I will cry when sorrow strikes. I will live a life of abundance as long as I have strength.

Will you?

Elizabeth Siggy

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  1. Julia /

    Exactly!! In the 70s in London there were the IRA bombings. As a child I learned not to throw litter in the garbage cans/bins; that was dangerous. But we still went about our lives. In 2001 I was in England visiting with my family when New York was hit. We were shocked and appalled…and still took the Chunnel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. By embracing life and doing what is good and fun and healthy that which is good will eventually triumph over evil.

    • Elizabeth /

      Yes, Julia. We must embrace life despite our fears. If we don’t, the “bad guys” win.

  2. Thank you for this beautiful post. My daughter goes to college in Boston, and I can’t even find the words to articulate my feelings about yesterday’s events. I appreciate that you did, and totally agree that we need to continue to live and celebrate our lives of abundance as long as we can.

  3. What a wonderful post. It’s so hard to know what to think or do after a horrible tragedy such as this. What’s wonderful about this country is that such incidents just bring us closer together – with more resolve than we had before, to go about our lives and show those who desire to do us harm that we will not be afraid.

    • Elizabeth /

      I agree, Ellen. We must all be resolved to continue living with courage despite these horrible attacks.

  4. This is too long – I apologize – but I had to respond.
    I grew up in Boston, two of our children attended college there, and one works and lives there now. She was a 1/2 block from the finish line. We couldn’t speak by phone so we messaged back and forth on Facebook last night, and I left her voice messages to retrieve when her service came back. Among the multiple reactions we could have to this,as you mentioned, is the willingness to be still with fear. THAT could have been me, until my daughter got up today, dressed, and took the T into work, assuming – even after yesterday – that she’d be safe. We need the faith of the young, or at least I do.

    • Elizabeth /

      Our adult children have NO IDEA what we go through, do they? I’m so glad your daughter was safe.

  5. For me it is another lesson to teach our children well … all so very sad and senseless.

    • Elizabeth /

      Yes, very sad and senseless…but we cannot let the “bad guys” win.

  6. Absolutely! Thanks so much for sharing this thoughtful and encouraging perspective! We need reminders today that life goes on and we should embrace it!

  7. Carolyn Soltis /

    Thank you so much for your message. Encourges me today, and I hope to remember it tomorrow (that is always iffy).

  8. Beautiful, inspiring, and exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  9. Yes, I am with you on choosing life and joy and love. I think we owe it to ourselves as well as to our children to look past the evil and seek the good in life.

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