Boston Strong, One Year Later

Every so often I like to have a date with my first love on the East Coast: my beautiful city! I haven't had one of these days in a while; it has been a busy few months and, let's face it, walking around Copley Square with the freezing wind whipping at your face isn't really my idea of a romantic time. Lucky for me, yesterday finally felt like a real spring day and I had some rare time to myself before a hair appointment on Newbury with no toddler, no agenda and no rushing necessary. I walked down Boylston and Newbury, checking out the colors starting to emerge in the shop windows and even popping into H&M to peek at the spring line and plan my next shopping trip. I took my time, finally felt some rays of sunshine on my face and the possibility that winter is really over finally in my heart. It was nothing short of completely lovely.

After getting beautified (Shaighla at Marc Harris has been my girl for years and even did my hair for our wedding, HIGHLY recommend her), I decided to take the long way and walk through the Common to catch my train home in order to savor a little more spring weather.

As I walked I checked out the signs that are up everywhere for the upcoming Boston Marathon, obviously a huge deal for our city every year, but even more so after last year's tragedy. I found myself become super emotional and choked up at the signs, then thinking about how silly it was to feel that way. I have always been annoyed at people who act as though everything is their own personal tragedy and I try and think about how things have impacted me in relation to others. For example, whenever someone dies at a high school and everyone comes out of the woodwork saying how they were their best friend and they are so sad and need to stay home for a week, when really they barely even knew the person. I saw it so many times in my youth, and again as an adult when friends would pass away.

 I am a very emotional and empathetic person and it is easy for me to take on the pain of others, so I definitely cry on my couch when watching sad things unfold on the news or when I hear of a tragedy close to home (such as the firefighters who lost their lives last week), but I never want to take away from the people that feel it more - the victims and their families - by acting like I was personally affected when I was more of an empathetic bystander.

I go back and forth with the Marathon tragedy because I do feel a very real sense of pain and sorrow; it happened in my city during a sport that I love and an event that I have watched my husband accomplish (and hope to do so myself soon); the second bomb went off directly where I was standing the previous year with our friends and Maddie as we watched Matty cross the finish line. The little boy who was killed and whose family was severely injured live a few blocks from us. I was supposed to be there but a work scheduling conflict changed that, so instead of taking our usual spot at the finish line, we were all safely out of harms way. It could have been me, but it could have been any of us.

I had dozens of friends running that day but none of them were hurt. I have friends and family who are nurses but none of them were harmed. Really, I made it out of that day pretty okay, but it is a year later and it still saddens me to the core that those two individuals chose to attack something so important to me, to take lives and hurt people and change the way the city operates during big events. My punk rock roots try not to be annoyed about the shelter in place that occurred or the search policies we can expect this year. I try (and sometimes fail) to not be annoyed towards people wearing Boston Strong shirts who had never run a mile or lived in city limits, almost a sense of entitlement where I get to feel it more than them because it really impacted my life, my hobby, my city, my friends. I feel so, so many things.

Grief, man, it's a fucked up thing.

But here we are, a couple of weeks away from race day; people are tapering, plans are being made for meeting up and cheering on all of our friends and both me and Matty's teams; events and dinners  leading up to Marathon Monday are being thrown in the iCal - this is always our life this time of year, we are runners and deeply involved in our running community and our city and we have always been huge fans of spectating our hometown race. I am starting to realize that those tears and emotion are also a strong sense of pride: for those running, those who will run some day, and for the sense of community that emerged in the face of such a terrible day. US. OUR. EVERYONE.
This is our thing, and even though this year has a whole new significance and storm of emotions around it, it is still Marathon Monday, and no matter how that day last year affected us, in two weeks we unite as one to move on, to heal, to cheer, to cry; we run as one, we run together, a year later, we all remain Boston Strong.

Each link goes to a way to donate to the many causes people are running for, as well as a fund established for the families of the firefighters who were buried this week in Boston and have nothing to do with me or any of my own fundraising efforts; I am simply spreading the word to those who may want to help. 

Matty finishing in 2011 during some awful heat!
At the finish line in 2011 (with a baby on board).
Before the race with a tiny Maddie!

A kiss at the finish line in 2012.
Waiting for Matty at the finish line.
Crossing the finish line in 2012!

Comments

Heather said…
Hi Stef! I have a quick question for you. Could you please email me when you have a chance? hvsj12 at gmail dot com - Thanks! :) Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

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