I have written a lot in the last week, but will share only a bit at a time. I think it's important to share this information, not just for myself and for the people around me to be aware of what has been happening, but to bring awareness that there are MANY people who are in the same position as me.
It’s so incredibly hard to put the past 5 months into words. Five months. It has felt like the longest five months of my life. I went from writing and sharing my experience for a few weeks (you can read here if you haven't) to nothing. Looking back, I don’t know if that was a good idea. I stopped because I was feeling like it was too much. I’m pretty much an open book but not generally comfortable sharing my personal life publicly. And so, I stopped. And I began to post on social media, only happy, fun things like I used to. However, over time I realized that it was giving people a false sense of what was happening. I continued and still continue to struggle with my experience at the marathon. I wanted to feel better right away and “get over it” like everyone wanted me to. I found myself extremely frustrated that it wasn’t just going away. Over time, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a long process. Over time, my memory of before, during, and after the bombing became a lot more clear, though there is still quite a lot of "pieces" missing from that entire day.
The blatant truth is that I was about 515 feet from one bomb and only about 115 feet from a second bomb. I watched both go off with smoke and debris, I watched people run, freeze, and fall to the ground. I watched fear fill faces of people and heard screams of adults and children all around me. I saw people lying in the street and a small child whose face was covered in blood carried by a police officer running past me. I stood in complete shock with my body going numb for I can’t be sure how long. I remember the above in small clips with blank gaps in between. I cannot see many of the people around me clearly, but I remember (though in a foggy way) some of their faces, the yelling, the crying. I remember clearly the young child and one woman in particular lying injured in the street with helpers surrounding her. Other than that, it’s foggy bits and pieces until I told Lauren we needed to get out of there right away.
One thing I am good at is remaining logical in a crisis, and now, I realize it doesn’t matter how extreme the crisis. I knew there was a possibility of more bombs in that exact area, I knew there were awful things around us. And even though I struggled with a lot of guilt for months about leaving (and still do at times) and not helping anyone, I know that I did what I should have done. We couldn’t help the injured and we would have been in the way for responders. I knew we had to protect ourselves in case more was coming. I was insistent that we run as far away as we could go and we did. We ran up Ring Rd to Huntington with people all around us, running as well or just stopped in shock, crying or looking numb. As we made our way near Copley square, ambulances, black SUVs, police cars, and every other first responder vehicle sped toward us, past us, in every direction as we kept out of their way while still trying to stay centered in streets. We wouldn’t run near sidewalks in case more bombs were planted in garbage cans, etc. We obviously didn’t know at this point where the bombs were. But, I can say that the instant it happened, we knew they were bombs. People yelled about electrical explosions. I can’t tell you exactly how we knew, but we knew. They were bombs and my world and everyone else’s affected had just changed. The rest of the day and night is spotty, as I had said back when I was writing before. Some things have become clearer, while others are still missing. Many read what my next 10 days were like. And then, after that, I started to be myself again, but not completely.
One of the hardest parts of these 5 months has been pretending. Pretending to be okay on days when I am overcome with sadness over what happened that day. Pretending it’s that easy to just move on from such an awful experience. Pretending that I’m not still having effects from that day. I grew up suppressing and pretending things were great even if they weren’t, like many people did and still do. It ate me up inside so I decided one day that it wasn’t how I wanted to live. I began being honest. Honest with myself and honest with others. Honest that I may be having a bad day or there may be something bothering me, but that I was still okay. I began to acknowledge to myself and to others that not every day is perfect and that’s fine. It actually made me a much happier person, which my friends will confirm. Instead of holding the weight of everything inside, I let it out and moved on with determination and a smile. And if I couldn’t smile right away, that was fine too because I knew it was temporary. So, in general, I have become a very happy person. I smile and am up most of the time. I stopped being easily offended by others, stopped caring what others thought, and was living a life that made me happy in every way. And then, in one second, things changed.
Something important I've reminded myself over and over is to be patient and basically to just breathe through it all.
I have a lot more to share, but i'll keep my posts on the short side.