Yesterday, Sunday July 22nd, Oslo and the rest of Norway paused to commemorate the 77 victims of the bomb and gun massacre that shocked our nation one year ago.
One year ago I was in Beijing, and it was really hard being so far away from home and those I loved - stuck in a country where it was nearly impossible to stream news broadcasts, only depending on Norwegian online newspapers. In many ways I felt cut off and isolated (against my wish).
In this way my fellow Norwegian students in China, and I, missed out on the greater part of the (grieving) process that followed in the months after, debates and that special feeling of solidarity between Norwegians that has been frequently talked about in the time after.
Instead my fellow Norwegian classmates, some of them even having lost close friends or having friends who were badly wounded, and I, went to school as normal, surrounded by (non-Norwegian) people and teachers whom was totally oblivious to "our" situation back home.
When I returned to Norway in December, I somewhat felt that I'd missed out on an important grieving process.
Five months later Norwegians had mostly gotten over their shock, and had sort of moved on, while my own shock was still very much intact.
Poor Vidar would try to console me, while I was choking and sobbing - five months later - when watching the Norwegian King's speech during the memorial concert held just a few days after the attack.
I would "finally" be able to catch up on discussions, news debates etc. that had been accessible to Norwegians all along, and I'd come across videos clips that had already been frequently shown in the Norwegian media, so much that other Norwegians had seen so many times they barely noticed it anymore - I was seeing it for the first time and I felt heartbroken and would bawl my eyes out, as if it had just happened.
Yesterday, one year after the event, I went together with Vidar's mom to the city centre of Oslo to commemorate those who were lost.
I think it helped me getting my own closure.
"We are so few in this country,
every fallen one is a brother or a friend."
The Government Building,
where a car bomb killed eight people
and injured more than two hundred
The Norwegian Parliament
"Even if we didn't know you, we miss you all".