The countdown to the anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing has been echoing loudly. Each day there is a new story on the TV news, Facebook, and in the paper. Part of me wants to eat up every story and emerge myself into the pride of “Boston Strong!” But as I read these stories…stories of a very long and hard year for the survivors and the families of those lost…I don’t feel strong. I feel overwhelmed by sadness and overcome with emotion. I feel the weight and sorrow of a wounded (but not broken) city.
I feel an immense amount of pride in being from Boston–and have long before the tragic events in 2013. I posted a blog last April on the night that the bombers were caught. As I wrote, the Police and FBI were chasing the brothers through the streets of my world. The streets where my parents and grandparents grew up, where I went to college, worked for many years, and made a million wonderful memories with my husband and children. I did not know of the chase, bloodshed and manhunt until that next morning.
Here is the blog post that I wrote that night: Boston: We Built This City
I felt angry and sad. I still do. I felt an overwhelming connection with with people who lost their lives. It’s as if the 3 souls lost at the marathon finish line represented all of Boston. An international college student who chose to come to Boston for it’s amazing educational opportunities, a beautiful girl next door enjoying one of the best days of the year in Boston, and a young boy full of potential. (And later, a first responder who took such pride in his job.) My own son would be the same age as little Martin and my daughter the same as his little sister, Jane. We have never met the Richard family and most likely never will. As I read the Boston Globe’s thoughtful and thorough two-part article about their journey, I felt that the details of their daily life before the 2013 Boston Marathon were so similar to my own. The backyard baseball and street hockey. The requests for last minute sleepovers from 9 year-old boys. The endless scramble to get out the door including 11th hour clothing changes… It is my own life. How could their very ordinary, yet beautiful world be rocked to it’s very core? I respect their efforts to hold onto some privacy and create a new normal for their surviving 2 children. I wish there was something that would truly help them. I honestly don’t know what that would be.
Doris Kearns Goodwin quoted Hemingway on Meet the Press last Sunday, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” I do believe that Boston is stronger and hopefully also safer after the 2013 Marathon Bombings. And I also feel that our beautiful Patriot’s Day is forever changed.
We were strong before the 2013 bombing. People like Dick and Rick Hoyt remind of us the depth and possibilities our true strength. I will not be running the marathon in the memory of those lost or making any large public efforts, but rather, I will quietly love my family and try to pay it forward. I love Boston. Boston is a real city. We will not be defined by the hateful actions of few, but rather grow and live on in the strength and love of many.
These are some of my favorite day to day moments in our beautiful city.
This is My own personal Boston….