It was a crazy, scary day here in DC. I was teaching a morning yoga class when the news broke, so didn't hear about it right away. While walking home from class, I started listening to a new voicemail from a friend. When I heard her say that she was calling to see if Ben was okay, my heart dropped. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I stopped listening mid-message and immediately called Ben's office.
He picked up on the first ring and told me what had happened. He was in lockdown in his building because of a shooting on the Navy Yard, and as I would later find out, 12 people had been killed at his workplace.
I've been to the Navy Yard many times, and I always think of it as a super safe place. Ben had to get a security clearance for his job, they check his ID when he arrives at the front gate, he has to show an ID to get into his building, and he can't even access his work computer without a special ID card (!). Yet somehow, the shooter, Aaron Alexis, got in--through all of the checkpoints--and killed 12 people.
This is the first time that I've experienced a shooting that wasn't from a distance. It was close by, people I know were there, it was very real, and yet, it still felt unreal.
I don't know what I can say here that won't come across as trite, or dramatic, or repetitive, but I will say that yesterday, I experienced one tiny moment of sheer panic--and then I heard Ben's voice on the other end of the phone and everything was okay for me. He was safe.
But, everything was not okay for the families of the 12 people who were killed. Their wives or children or husbands or parents called their office phones, and no one picked up--it just kept ringing, all day long. I cannot imagine.
It takes me back to 9/11--which I purposefully haven't ever addressed here on the blog, simply because I don't know where to start, or what I could possibly write that hasn't already been written--or back to Columbine, or to Sandy Hook, or Aurora. What can you even say?
I am so grateful that my husband was finally let out of his building at 8pm last night, and that he returned home to eat dinner with me and tell me about his difficult day. When he walked into the apartment, I gave him a long hug, and was overwhelmed by the fragility of our lives, the thin threads that connect us--threads that could be cut at any minute by any number of unforeseen events.
I am hurt, heartbroken, and devastated for those whose loved ones didn't come home for dinner last night--and for everyone who has ever been touched by a similarly horrific event.
I hope you will join me in sending loving, healing, peaceful energy to those who were affected by yesterday's shooting. I'll be dedicating my daily yoga practice to the victims and their families, and invite you to do the same.
It's the only thing I know how to do.