Just over five hours ago, there were explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It’s too soon to know any real details, and questions abound – how many people were hurt? Was it terrorism or an accident? If it was terrorism, who would do such a thing and why? Are there more explosives? Are the people I know ok? Will it happen again, and if so, where and when? Did we miss warnings? What could we have done to prevent this? How do we prevent this from happening again? How do I explain this to my children? Is the casualty toll going to be worse than originally predicted?
I can’t help but notice a similarity to initial reactions to a new significant medical diagnosis. What? Cancer? For real, or is there some sort of mistake? How bad is it? Has it spread? Will it spread more? Is it curable? Did I miss warnings? What could I have done to prevent this? How do I prevent this from happening to other family members? How do I explain this to my children?
So many questions. So few answers at the beginning. Some answers will come, but many questions will remain unanswered. And it’s really hard to wait for answers and to live with uncertainty. But when we react blindly, without gathering enough of the appropriate information, we can do ourselves gross disservice.
So we wait. We rely on those who have been trained in their respective fields to ask the right questions and find as much accurate information as possible. We question those experts, and seek additional opinions. We won’t always like the answers to the questions.
And to some questions, there are no answers. And some days are hard.