I had this feeling that I need to connect with people again, especially after the leg shaking came a bit (not much at all since!) and the fact that I've had these emotional breakdowns, sometimes triggered by something, sometimes out of nowhere. I feel I want to be with those who are feeling it too, but I want it to be in fun, positive ways. Last week, I went to meet up with someone who had some significance to me last year. We were invited to a dinner thrown by the Semper Fi Fund last March. I couldn't tell you how I got invited or what led to it. It's funny how there are things, such as specify anxiety attacks or feelings/situations that I can remember clearly as if they just happened and then there's so much that is foggy or not there at all. My memory was awful and my focus and memory have never been the same since, but got better. It's now starting to be off again.
I digress. At the dinner last year, I was introduced to B.J. A friend thought it'd be good for me to talk to him because I was still feeling very out of place and that feeling the way I did wasn't okay since I had no injuries. Well, talking to a wounded warrior who lost a leg in war was exactly what I needed. He actually recalls that at first he thought I was shivering and then realized it was anxiety (my GOD I shook a lot). He reassured me that even though I was not hurt, that I had every right to be going through what I was. Talking to him was the first time I truly felt some relief about it and accepted in a new way that it was happening. Fast forward to the Tribute walk/run, one mile ending at the finish line for survivors, first responders, and their support people. I went alone, as I did with many things. I never knew who I'd want to ask and those who I did want to ask, I didn't want to burden. I also found some people couldn't handle it the way I would need them to or simply didn't want to come. Anyway, I found it really hard once there to be alone as others had family/friends/etc. I ended up walking with different people and finally, B.J.'s wife, Sarah. We were just chatting and taking pictures. Once we turned on Boylston, I continued talking but didn't look around much so as not to focus on where we were. As she turned at one point to take a pic, I also turned and pulled my camera up. Then, I realized where we were. In front of Forum. I then looked to the right to "my spot". I remember turning to my left, away from the finish line and in a full circle and then continuing to walk. I was short of breath, could feel my chest tightening and tears came flooding out of me. (see? Some things I remember VERY clearly) They must have seen my face and realized what was happening, because B.J. was immediately by my side asking what I needed. When I shook my head because words couldn't come out, he asked if I wanted to run the rest and get it over with and I nodded. I feel like I blacked out because I don't remember running. I remember crossing the finish line and him hugging me and giving some reassuring words. I have this image though that I am happy to have even if it's at the ugly cry pic of me at my heaviest from gaining so much weight last year.
The dinner was great this year as I connected with people I haven't seen in a while, had some laughs, and just had a good time. One girl even mentioned how I used to be so quiet and shy and now am so outgoing to which another friend pointed out was because of the anxiety. I told her that I was not quiet and shy before the bombings and that the person she was seeing now was the real me. It's nice to hear these things. It reminds me again where I was just a year ago and where I'm at now.
Last Thursday was also emotional. It was the one year anniversary of the Back Bay fire. That fire house and all first responders hold an extra special place in my heart these last two years and especially certain people. I certainly felt it. I had a lump in my throat all day. I tried to just spend the week posting pics I took of the memorial in front of the firehouse and doing some shout outs to the BFD.
So, here I am. I'm so far from where I was. I'm not getting sucked into or obsessing about the trial or anything marathon related, but it's still there. It's still fresh. People think it's been two years and all is good. They think we're all better. But, it's still raw. I can still get a huge lump in my throat or feel a tightness in my chest from certain things. I'm still very startled by loud noises or sirens at times, but not always. That day and the marathon itself will always carry an emotional significance. It will get easier over time, but this is a significant year just like last year was. Last year was the first. It was still VERY anxiety producing and there was a fear of it happening again. It took getting through it to ease a bit and now, it's here again. I'm happy I'm not experiencing anxiety as bad as others or not much at all, but we're not "over it". Never will be. Every year will get easier and better. I've moved on. I'm thankful and look at it all as a blessing and meant to be as weird as that can sound, but it's still there.
The One Fund no longer exists but people still need support and money. The only place handling all of this for anyone and everyone affected is the Massachusetts Resiliency Center. So, if you are willing and able to donate, you can do so here: https://development.bmc.org/resiliencycenter
Thanks as always!