This day is a day that is painful for so many Norwegian. The 22nd of July, a day that is someones birthday, someones memorable wedding day, turned into such a tragic and awful day for the whole people of Norway.
I can still remember it today, how I was sitting on the couch at the end of the day, going through the usual facebook updates, reading some blogs and visiting the major newspapers in Norway’s’ webpages to see if there was anything new happening. It was what we refer to as ‘cucumber season’ or ‘silly season’ so there was basically nothing new. After closing up my computer I went to have a shower and get ready for bed. Before I got into bed, I went to the kitchen for a drink. That’s when I had it. The hunch. For some reason, I had to check my computer again. I even went to put clothes on, even though I was meant to go to sleep. I just knew that ‘one more look’ was needed.
We had literally just moved to a new town and had no friends. I had started going to a playgroup to meet people, and Simon had friends at his work, but nobody had become our friends yet. I don’t even know if that was bad or good in this case.
Simon comes in after having walked the dogs for the night, seeing me still on the couch with my computer on my lap, just about to open it. He throws some comment about being ‘addicted to the internet’ and I answer him with ‘I know, but I’ll be there in a minute.’ I open it up, connect to the internet, and go to the newspaper webpage.
Not used to me swearing, Simon peeks out from the kitchen, and as I look up, he realizes my harsh words were warranted.
“I am not kidding. Although this could be wrong – it seems as though a bomb has gone off. In Norway. Like, in Oslo.”
The worst part was that the newspapers didn’t say anything more. I had literally gone in during the moments when they only had those words up, then the “we’ll be back with more”. I had several tabs open with all the major news outlets in Norway, waiting for more info. Needless to say, I never made it to my bed.
It was scary. I remember sitting there, in front of the TV, which was playing music videos, searching for information. I know loads and loads of people in Oslo, and loads and loads who could very well be working in the area the bomb went off.
Then the news of the island shooting started. In such a surreal twist, more horrific drama was happening. My head scrambled together all my thoughts, and I remembered that I probably knew some people on that island, and after having facebook stalked them to see if I was right, I was both worried and at ease. None of them were a close friend of mine, but in those moments, I could only think of them. And I just cried.
Someone I knew died on that island. Someone I have spent time together with on that very island. Someone who I am eternally grateful for having had the chance to meet and to be inspired by. So many people were killed that day. No natural disaster, no car crash or house fire. Nothing that could be ruled a tragic accident. A sick man planned and murdered those beautiful people – and the Norwegian people responded with love. No riots, no protests, no hate (except for towards the killer). Just love, singing together and more love.
I wish we could go back and stop that day from ever happening. I wish we could still have those beautiful people walk among us and keep inspiring and spreading love. How I wish we could have saved them somehow.
Four years later, the images and emotions from that night when I sat up, reading and crying, are still present in my mind. There is no way for me to even begin to imagine how it must be like for the people who were there and experienced it and for the parents, siblings, friends and others who lost someone close to them.
It is a sad day for Norway today.
They will always be remembered. They will always be on our minds. And we will never stop spreading love.