Hi world,

I would love to share some thoughts with you this week, and I would really for you to share yours with me too, if you’d like!

I know that last weeks terror attack here in Stockholm has filled up our news feeds more than enough already, but I sure haven’t been able to forget about it, nor do I want to. A part of me is still in shock, I just can’t believe that it happened, or that it happened this close to my home; The home I share with my family… It makes me absolutely furious!

My kids were playing on the floor, innocence written all over their tiny faces, my dogs were sleeping peacefully next to the them, the cat was busy watching the kids playing and the love of my life and I was stuck laying a thousand piece Cars-puzzle the youngest got for his birthday. It should have been a family thing, and it was for about 10 minutes, and that was it. It didn’t matter much though, because we were having family time on the floor in our living room, all so blissfully unknowing about the horror that was playing out so close to home…

The news hit and it felt like someone had punched all the air out of me. It was unbelievable. Something like this should not happen here and my first thought was that it must have been a mistake. However, we all know now that it wasn’t.

The seriousness of the attack was amplified when Facebook created a way for us to officially mark that we were okay. Slowly, all our friends and family here checked the same box as us, and it was a relief to say the least.

What a contrast, huh? One second we are having one of the best family moments we have ever had in the year of me living here and the next our loved ones are calling and writing us, making sure that we are ok.

A simple 5 minute distance, yet it felt like we were a whole world apart from the tragedy… We weren’t. The sirens were a constant reminder of that and they lasted most of the evening… they couldn’t have been ignored even if I had wanted to.

When they eventually died out, the quietness was immense and it spoke volumes. Never had Stockholm been this quiet on me, and it was hard to appreciate it. It was sad… I was literally sitting on my bed with tears in my eyes thinking: “What if…”.

I went to sleep with a heart so torn. Most of all, I was thankful that everyone we know was okay, but my heart was bleeding for the families that were now ripped apart. I was so sad, so angry, and yet there was absolutely nothing I could do to make this go away. It was devastating.

The fact is that only time can heal Stockholm’s wounds and help the families deal with the loss of their loved ones… I can say this because I have known my fair share of loss too. I know pain. Still, I can’t imagine what people are going through, and I can’t imagine how much time this will require for the families to get back on track. All I hope for is that they will someday find comfort and peace in the love they shared and that this will bring them closer together as a family, not tear them apart. Stockholm might still be the same after all, but these families won’t be, and that’s the biggest tragedy of all.

In all honesty, the people who know me also knows that Stockholm isn’t my first choice. Stockholm isn’t for me… I’m more of a “country and no neighbors”-kind of girl. Stockholm is beautiful, sure… One of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, to be fair. It’s multi-cultural, exciting and it has the whole world to offer right within it’s borders, but it’s just not me. Honestly, to me it’s too crowded, and up until now it has been kind of a love/hate relationship, even though it’s been mostly hate for me.

So how could I ever hate such a gorgeous city, you might ask? Well, I always felt that people were so stressed here… Like, I could literally take a step outside my door and feel the energy change around me. Other people’s stress was rubbing off on me instantly and I didn’t like it at all. People seemed snobbish here, like they had enough in themselves, and that’s just not me either…

Yet, at a time like this, people stopped what they were doing, and took the time to help in whatever way they possibly could. The #openstockholm is a proof of how selfless Stockholmer’s have been ever since the attack. These people are such a big part of what makes Stockholm great, and I now have a new appreciation of the city I call my home and the people in it.

This is truly an act of pure evil from the worst, low-life coward. It is beyond my understanding how someone could ever hurt innocent people like that, and for what cause? To prove a point? Well, guess what Mr. Terrorist: YOU FAILED TO DO THAT! 

Honestly, I wish I could have done more, just do something at least, but I’m only a human. I chose to hug my kids and Björn extra tight that night before we all said good night. I just didn’t know what else to do, therefor I’m grateful that there were others who did.

I never thought that I would ever be in a situation like this. I never thought that I would be doing a blog post about something so serious… and just to make it clear: this is not me trying to make sense of the situation, because there simply is none. I guess this is me trying to cope with the evil that lurks in the open when we don’t even realize that it’s there. It’s me coping with the fear this tragedy has left behind; the fear of what might happen in the future.

Now, almost a week later, I’m still angry, I’m still sad and I’m left with one single unanswered question: Will this ever end?

However, I’m not going to let the aftermath, the fears and the worry, weigh me down. I’m going to live my life just the same as before. Am I more worried now that something could happen to my kids someday? Yes! Do I want to lock them in their room and never let them out in an effort to protect them from danger? Also yes! But no… If anything, this is a time were we need to live our lives, at least for the ones that no longer can.

Life is short, way to short to let the “what if’s” and fears get the best of us. We need to live, but most important we need to remember…

Stockholm in my heart… I will remember, will you?

– Maria

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