I’ve been thinking a lot about the Boston Marathon bombing lately because it’s almost been a year. For those new to the blog, I was a block away from the explosions last year with my then eight-week-old baby.
Tragically, last night, two Boston Firefighters were lost in duty and their incredible bravery hits home once again. It feels like punch in the gut, a personal loss. It reminds me of last year.
This is the first trauma I’ve ever dealt with, and it poses challenges I couldn’t have predicted. The panic feelings when I hear a story on the radio, or walk past the sight, for example. Also, my complete inability to access empathy for the suspect in custody – it’s not like me, but it’s real. I reach for that empathy like I’m reaching for my wallet, but all I find is an empty pocket. Experiencing true fear does unexpected things.
But even in those moments, I appreciate the distance. I appreciate the year of healing that our city has undergone.
Boston, the way I see it, is just like a spunky, loud-mouthed five year old boy on the playground*. He talks bigger than he can act, but it makes him kind of lovable. Last April, he got the crap beat out of him and ran to his mom’s arms. As he sobbed into her shoulder she whispers, “Hey. Hey – what are we?”
“Strong,” he whimpers between hysterical gasps.
“What are we?” she asks again, his chin in her hands.
We weren’t. We were scared, hurt kids, but we started saying “strong”. It made me feel better. It helped me to heal – to some degree. And whether I like it or not, that day pulled a strong string around my heart and wove it into the fabric of this city.
My thoughts today are with the Firefighters and their families. We owe a lot to the people who keep us safe and put their necks on the line for their fellow citizens. Boston, it turns out, is a pretty small town.
*OK, so if I’m characterizing cities I’ll make New York a 12-year-old girl who just got back from a summer abroad and owns like 17 scarves all the sudden and keeps taking photos and whining about trans-fats.