Moving And Healing

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.

Boston4One of my favorite spots in the city.

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.

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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.

Boston2Boston’s Finest at the memorial site near the bombings on Boylston

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.

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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.

Boston3

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 🙂 

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Boston1

Boston is One. Boston Strong. 

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14 thoughts on “Moving And Healing

  1. We don’t have to be from Boston to understand you. Watching what has happened in countries around the world does not prepare you for something of the nature that occured in Boston. America is supposed to be the land of the free, free from fear, and free to travel in safety. Watching the things as I have on the news, I feel fear returning to the USA. And that saddens me, we all have to assemble in our own way how we deal and continue to live. I’m glad to hear you have enjoyed some of the normal things in life and taken the chance to smell the city!

      • I feel you … and seeing the good is all you can keep doing some days – If I can do it YOU can too 😀 Now go eat some zero calorie marshmallow fluff! hehe

  2. I know I sent you a message already and that I’m not in Boston, but again, my offer still stands if ever you need someone just to vent your feelings to!

  3. Stephanie, thank you for writing this post. I too am still struggling to come to terms with everything. My heart continues to be heavy, and as we’ve been told we must carry on with life, I just can’t do that completely. I’m trying, but it’s tough. My mind is still on that day. I want answers now. I can’t wait. I plan on going down to the memorial site today (haven’t been able to all week) and I’m already scared for what kind of emotions it may bring to the surface. But that’s okay. Boston is still in mourning. You can feel it, and I think it’s going to be that way for quite a while.

    • Thanks Sarah 🙂 I had someone ask me this weekend how is it in Boston, and I only could say that I don’t think it will ever be the “same” Boston again. We move on and we live our lives, but it will always be there, and we’ll always remember. I saw you got to go down to the memorial too, isn’t it just beautiful what they’ve done?!

  4. I get this, Steph. You know I’m not in Boston right now but I’m Boston bred, born, and raised (for 20 years), and most of my family lives in Boston, Everett, Quincy, & Weymouth, so to say I’ve been all over the spectrum in the past week or so would be an understatement.
    It’s all well and good for people to say that terrorists win if we feel afraid, but does that mean they don’t win if we’re not afraid — even if they kill people? I don’t think so. I also think that’s a dangerously minimizing type of statement to make. Terrorism goes far beyond the creation of fear, and people can be very psychologically damaged by what they witness or lose — whether that is confidence, a sense of safety and security, a feeling of order in the world, or a loved one or body part.
    Feel what you’re feeling. Don’t try to stifle it. Let the emotions flow through you, overcome you — whatever needs to happen. Bottling things up is dangerous; letting things flow is always good.
    Thinking of you ❤

    • Very well said, Sable! And I Know you are so tied to this area… it’s the great thing about Boston is that people all over the country have such personal ties here. It’s like everyone took this personally, I know I did! I’ve been doing better the past few days, and talking it over with friends has really helped. Thanks again!

  5. Been thinking of you a lot 🙂 anytime you need to vent you just write to your heart’s content. I love the pictures you’ve been posting… I can’t wait to come out there and hang with you soon! Stay strong girl! We’re all here with ya!

  6. Pingback: 2013 Recap: The Best of I Train Therefore I Eat | I Train Therefore I Eat.

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