The Chicago Marathon weekend is big business in the Moore-Moran household. My brother, Roger, has participated in almost every Chicago Marathon since 1998.
We're a close-knit family who live in three different states--one East, one Midwest, and one West. The Moores can't get together very often, and that's why we look forward to Marathon Weekend every year, as a chance for our family to celebrate birthdays together and love each other while actually being in the same room.
While he runs the 26.2 mile course around our beautiful lakefront , we have family time with my sister-in-law, Paula, my niece Amelia, and nephew Matthew. Mom and Dad no longer can travel downtown to watch Roger or cheer him on, but they can keep track nonetheless...technology makes it all possible.
For a long time, our family tradition was to stand among a million other spectators at Grant Park, trying to find "Daddy" in the crowd.
That's not so easy in Grant Park. Like the Boston Marathon, it's awash in a sea of humanity, bringing together all of humankind, celebrating a spectacular achievement for individuals who sometimes didn't know they had 26.2 miles in them. Until the moment they crossed the finish line.
One year, we found him at mile 12. Paula threw her arms around him and gave him the kiss of a newlywed.
And now, Roger's children are into it. Both kids are really close with their Daddy. Amelia, 10, once told Roger that she wanted to marathon with him, in "pink sneakers, a pink Hello Kitty sweater," and pink leggings."
And then, there's Matthew. His bond with his Daddy is special because he is so much like him. Matthew, now 7, looks like Roger at that age. He also likes everything Daddy does...baseball, railroad trains, music. Climbing trees. And running. He experienced his first Marathon before his birth, when Daddy competed in the Stockholm Marathon.
Marathon weekend is very special indeed, because Matthew was born on October 10. Sometimes, like on his 'golden' birthday (10.10.10) the Marathon falls on the same day. The whole family celebrates his birth, and the Moore family.
When I read the story of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old who was waiting for his Daddy to finish the race, my heart and knees turned to mush as I realized that we could have been that family. As reported by People Magazine, Martin died from his injuries. His sister Jane, 7, lost a leg, while their mother Denise had surgery for a brain injury, WHDH reported. A third child, an older son, was reportedly not injured.
Bill, according to People Magazine, helped to lead the transformation of Peabody Square over the past decade. The family was said to be deeply involved in Dorchester life, from kids' baseball and soccer to their church, St. Ann's Parish in Neponset.
Like Bill and Denise Richard, Roger and Paula are civic leaders. Their children are similar ages and do similar things. They're active in the community. They recycle. They take their kids to soccer practice and cheer them on at games. They help their kids do homework. They teach them to be good citizens and respect their country and their fellow man.
Just a normal family. Like the Richard family.
But the Richard family is no longer whole. A monster...or monsters... who couldn't contain anger, who wanted to hurt a lot of people, shattered their lives. More than 170 people were injured in the blasts, and three people died.
Had these monsters, whoever they are, targeted the Chicago Marathon....I shudder to think that this could have been my family. Because it could have been. All too easily.
Tonight, I know what I will do. I have already said my prayers for the Richard family, for all the victims of this tragedy, for President Obama and those who seek answers. For me, I will tell each member of my family and friends how much I love them.
Because you never know when it's the last time you will see them.
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