Cameron Lelai Murray

Cameron Lelai Murray

Friday, April 15, 2016

Post Traumatic Growth

John 14:27(NIV)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I first heard the term post traumatic growth at a training last November and that word resonated in my soul.  That phrase contains what I feel on a daily basis since the bombing at the Boston Marathon on April 15, trauma AND growth.  During those moments and every day since, I have viewed my family and my life through a different lens.  The struggle is there.  It is real.  It continues.   
There are several things I remember about that day.  That perfect Boston day. Those who live in New England and endure this crazy weather understand what it means when someone says "it was a perfect spring day."  Blue skies. Warm weather.  Flowers in bloom.  The whole city seemed to be smiling as we made our way to meet our group of families who had runners from Boston Children's Hospital.  We were the finish line group.  We were the blessed ones who had the front row seat to the most famous race in the world.  
After spending hours tracking our runners, we would run out of the Fire House and meet them with hugs, tears, screams and love.  Our child and a parent would join our runner for the final stretch and cross that finish line together. Our runner, Sue Sonia, had trained really hard for this marathon.  And so had 4 year old Cameron.  Sue had a goal to have a sub-4 hour marathon.  It was going to be close!  Cameron trained every day by running circles around our house.  He knew he had to run as fast as his little legs could carry him down Boylston Street.

I can still hear the cowbells and see Sue's emotional face as she greeted us. Cameron grabbed her hand with one of his and held onto his daddy's hand with the other, and off they went towards that finish line. Cameron flew, literally, as he ran to cross that line. His sisters and I watched them until we couldn't see them anymore and headed back to the fire station at Hereford and Boylston Streets to gather our things to meet them.
Lauren was only 8 months old, and it had been a long day.  I gave an iPad and a snack to my other two preschoolers as I spoon fed Lauren something before our long walk back to the van.  And that's when it happened.  The first explosion.  It sounded like a cannon or fireworks.  It was unfamiliar and unexpected.   Instinct kicked in, and I just started packing up my babies.  That's when the second explosion happened and the view that I had was what I later processed again and again and again in a trauma therapist's office.
Boston's Finest were leading everyone away from the finish line.  One half of my heart was in front of me with three little girls who I needed to keep safe in a scene of chaos.  However, the other half of my heart was on the other side of that finish line and that's where I was headed.  I was not panicked.  Quite the contrary.  I was focused and insistent and calm.  I was not even going to waste time breathing until my family was all together again.
Terror is meant to kill and destroy lives.  That's their mission.  It's one fueled with hatred.  I am here to tell you that evil does not have the final word.  Each one of us has the ability to fight it, and God can and will give you the strength to overcome.  Even in the chaos, people were helping each other.  This was not a stampede or a "everyone out for themselves" state of the city.  April 15th to me was and always will remain a time when I witnessed strangers helping strangers.  
In the three years since that day, I have learned a few things about myself and our world.  
1. It's ok to need help.
In fact, I have finally realized that we are actually supposed to need help.  Even when we love Jesus and know that He loves us.  Even when we spend our time helping others.  Even if that means therapy or counseling or help from clergy or medication.  Yes, I said it.  Medication.  You can actually be a prayer warrior and love God and still need medicine to help you.  Don't be ashamed.  We are all in this together.
2. Despite what our media seems to emphasize daily, the majority of those who wear a uniform are there to protect, help and serve.  They do so with honor and love of their fellow man.
3. The sight of my husband walking towards me is the best feeling that I will ever experience.
When life is exploding in chaos all around us, he is the one I want to be with. When he is grumpy or stressed and I am feeling less than charitable, I try to remember what I felt like that day.  He is not my enemy.  He is the one God has given me to search for in times of trouble.  I need to be willing to ignore what the world says and walk towards him through the trouble.  Running away from him will only cause more confusion.
4. Home is a feeling in your heart when you and all whom you love dear are together.  It is not the apartment you rent or the house you now own.  It is not the place that you decorated like a Pottery Barn catalog.  It is not the mess that you need to clean up or the place where you entertain others. It is you and your people.  Together.
5. Terrorism will win some battles BUT they will not win the war.  Love is stronger than hate.  It really does come down to that.
The growth process is not complete.  Nor will it ever be until I am called home. However, it has begun and the truth is I would have never truly seen the best of humanity without experiencing the horrors of it either.  


  1. This is a beautiful document and a great affirmation of life.
    John Murray

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