Today it has been 9 days since the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and I still have a very heavy heart. I am writing today’s post mostly for my own therapeutic reasons, so I understand if you want to skip over this one. But for me, I have to write this.
I almost didn’t publish this post, because I know that not everyone who reads this blog is from Boston, and I know you don’t read this blog to hear about how sad I am. But this is real life, and I want others out there to know that it’s ok if you feel like you can’t just move on, if you still feel fear, or if you’re just having a hard time figuring out what emotions you’re actually feeling. After this, my regular blog posts will resume, but like I said I just had to write this to help my own healing process.
I’m having a very hard time coming to terms with my feelings about this past week. I have felt every emotion over the past several days, ranging from fear, terror, confusion, sadness, and yes, even happiness. I have been dealing with intense feelings of guilt that as a health care provider, I was not at the finish line to help. I have felt anxiety and tension while waiting for the FBI to release pictures of the suspects. Until the suspects were caught Thursday night into Friday, I felt fear walking the streets of my own city, my only solace being the armed guards at nearly every street corner. I have been terrified inside my own home, with a city on lockdown, too scared to even go out on my front porch, for fear that the suspect could be hiding near by. I have cried more than I can remember ever crying, and my tears have been set off by emotional events such as visiting the memorial sites, as well as every day experiences like simply hearing the National Anthem.
And although the suspects were killed and captured late this week, I can’t say that my fear has completely dissipated. I have found myself jumping when I hear sirens, tensing up when I see helicopters in the sky, and nervously watching people who are walking around with backpacks. All of this has made me feel completely crazy. Living in a big city, police sirens and medical/news helicopters are not rare sounds; backpacks are the most popular accessory in a city full of college students. Yet I feel uneasy. I feel uneasy because these two men were people who were heavily involved in our community, who literally could have been anybody’s friend, neighbor, or coworker.
I don’t like admitting that I still feel afraid, because I’ve been told over and over again that being afraid “lets the terrorists win”. I’ve been told that Boston is strong and we won’t let them cause fear in our city. But while yes, Boston is strong, that doesn’t mean that it’s shameful to feel fear. I’m not letting them win, because I’m not going to stop living my life, but I do absolutely feel fear, and I want others to know that it’s ok to do so.
Despite all of this sadness though, I have been actively healing. Throughout the tense and highly emotional week, there has been plenty of laughter. I’ve gone to see two movies for a little bit of escape, and have spent precious time with some of my best friends. I celebrated with my city on Friday night after suspect #2 was apprehended, and have taken time to be thankful for the BPD and all of our armed forces who have protected us so well. I have also healed myself through movement. On Tuesday, I rode my bike around the city all day, taking in the sites, sounds, and smells of the city I love so dearly. I wore a weighted vest to my stadium run on Wednesday morning, and completed 26 sections of Harvard Stadium, pushing myself to the finish for all of those who couldn’t finish the race on Monday.
So don’t get me wrong, healing is happening. I just know that it’s going to be a long process for me. And that’s ok. I’ve had a few conversations with people over the past couple days about how we’re all sort of supposed to move on, and it almost seems like we’re not supposed to even talk about this anymore. But some of us need to talk about it, and for some of us, the process of working through all of the emotions that surround an event like this will take a lot longer. And that is ok. Moving on doesn’t have to mean forgetting or ignoring, but simply looking toward the positive and making the best life we can out of what we’ve got. There is a lot of love in this city, and for that, I am thankful.
I ran into these two the day after the bombing, leaving a trail of chalk-drawn inspirational messages along the Charles River Bike Path. Healing at it’s finest
Boston is One. Boston Strong.