It's been a rough week of tragic news from the US for me.  After the Boston marathon bombings, I searched online through my Facebook page and then twitter feeds to see if anyone I knew had been injured.  I have numerous friends who live in the area.   And of course today, the manhunt is happening in Watertown, MA where several people I know live. But yesterday when I woke up to the West, Tx explosions, I relived that awful sick feeling.   It was all over status updates and twitter feeds because I lived for 14 years (and moved to England from there eight years ago) in Waco, Texas which is just a fifteen minute drive to West.  Ugh.

I know West quite well.  Not only would I intentionally go there to eat their semi-famous kolaches, a Czech pastry, but one of my co-workers from the late 90s lived there with her family.  West only has about 2,800 people, and they all know each other.

My co-worker and I worked in the PR/Marketing Department at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, the same hospital where most of the injured were sent yesterday. My job back then was to work with the media, send out news releases and write for our quarterly news magazine.

I went to West when I worked at Hillcrest interviewing people for feature stories, I even went to the nursing home that was destroyed in the explosions.

So on a Friday morning I sit here as I type this with a jumble of emotions and thoughts.

Are my friends in Watertown safe today?  What about the marathon runners who were so injured that they will never run again?

Is my former coworker, her husband, her grown children, and grandchildren who live in West still alive?  Is any of them injured? How can I find out as they haven't released lists (at least not where I can read them here in Sheffield, England) yet?

Will West or Watertown or the marathon ever be the same?

and then there is the other part of my thoughts . . .

I'm so glad none of my friends in Boston were hurt.

I'm so proud of my old hospital in Waco.  They know how to handle crisis and deal with international exposure (they had that horrible David Koresh thing in the early 90s).

I'm so grateful for the communities of people I know who have gathered supplies, taken people in, brought meals to volunteers and displaced people, found missing pets and all risen to help the entire town of West and it's devastation.

And maybe the name 'Waco' won't be associated with that vile David Koresh cult any longer, but rather known as a city who rose up to help their neighbour in a great time of need.

intensehopeYes, it's all too close to home.   Except now my home is across an ocean only connected by internet and telephones. And all I can do is wait, and pray, and write, and hope until I get news.

Here is a link to images from West, Texas that were taken yesterday.

On the lighter side, the Czech Stop, where you can get those fatastic kolaches kept it's doors open to help victims.  Click here to read more about it and, if you are in the area, drop by so we can make it a little more famous.

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