This year, home alone and behind on my April writing quest, I vowed not to turn on the TV for Marathon coverage until I’d reached my word count. I got distracted writing an article afterwards, and then a late blog post. A few minutes after 3:00, our daughter texted me from her college dorm room.
“What’s going on with the Marathon?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t turned it on yet.”
“There were explosions at the finish line.”
You can’t imagine. Everyone we know goes to, or knows someone who goes to, or runs the Marathon. I became a woman with mad thumbs. I was so frazzled, in trying to text my sister, I got my niece instead.
“You guys aren’t in Boston are you?”
“No, we are all safe.
I texted my brother.
This happened. Here. To us.
Each reply-all email announcing safety brought some measure of relief. But what relief will there be for those who were injured, who face grueling recoveries, for those who lost loved ones on Monday, and more recently, Friday? And the rest of us? Whole in body but disheartened in spirit? How do we comprehend the evil that motivated two young men to injure in such a catastrophic way?
I was born in Boston. I spent my first six-weeks in an incubator in one of the hospitals caring for the injured now…the same place where “Suspect #1” was pronounced dead. As a young adult, I worked downtown and in the Back Bay. For a long time, my social life revolved around the city, and even now, there are few things my husband and I like much more than taking a ferry ride in for a yummy meal in the North End. Now though, I will never walk from the subway down Boylston Street past the two bomb sites without a twinge. I’ll never go to my eye doctor's again without eyeballing the Starbucks where, on my regular trips in, I splurge on coffee. It was front and center in the Boston Globe on Tuesday, a man dressed in a white hazmat suit analyzing evidence on the roof above.
While it appears my family was untouched by the physical horror, we watched the mayor of OUR city, the governor of OUR commonwealth, the President of OUR United States offer emotional and inspiring tributes in OUR cathedral. National news filmed OUR streets. Yesterday, friends in Newton were on lock down. My brother couldn’t go to work at his job in Cambridge. The city streets were void of cars. This happened. This happened here. This happened to us.
I could dwell on that. I could.
But I choose not to. In spite of how it hurts, and in truth with some trepidation as to how to move on, I recognize something. This didn’t just happen to us. Or better said, it happened to ALL of us. To everyone across the country who joined us in our grief, to those who have partnered with us, wrote inspirational messages, changed their Facebook photos to “I heart Boston,” to the sports beacons and headlines featuring loyalty to our city, to everyone who became one with us, to the givers, the helpers, the first responders, to those who put their lives on the line, I hope you know how much it means.
We are one nation, under God, indivisible.
Your actions gave proof through the long, heartbreaking night that was this week. Our flag is still there.