Tuesday, April 23, 2013


"A bomb went off in Copley."

Eleven minutes after the bombs went off, my sister heard about it on the street in Kenmore Square and texted the news.

Turns out, it was actually two bombs that went off in Copley Square.

I've celebrated my 19th, 25th and 30th birthdays in Boston on Marathon Monday.  Last year I was in the South End in weather that was perfect for a roof deck and miserable for running 26.2 miles.  My very first MLB game was on Marathon Monday; the 11am start becoming a nonnegotiable tradition in my first years living here, drinking beers far earlier than reasonable on any other day, followed by house parties in Brookline along the race route.  Other years have been lower key, watching the elite women and men cross the finish line on Boylston Street.  I've known many people to run and I've attended numerous fundraising parties.  Some years I've had to work and there's always that feeling that I'm missing out on something - the best day of the year in Boston I'm relegated to my desk looking out the window.

This year was one of those working years.  The text from my sister was the beginning of five and a half days of near constant sadness, fear and anxiety.  A flurry of texts and calls confirmed that everyone I knew was physically unharmed.  We spent the next few days trying to live a normal life but that was nearly impossible.  I've been an active participant in the ridiculous circus that is today's media but never as much as last week.  If I wasn't home in time to get the local and national news, I was pulling it up online to see what I had missed.  It was almost a relief to be in an all-day meeting on Wednesday, forcing myself to concentrate on anything else without the crutch of the ever updated internet.

Then Thursday night into Friday morning happened.  I was out with my sisters around 10:45pm, on our way home after seeing Fleetwood Mac at the Garden.  We felt safe at the concert and safe walking back to the car to head home.  We saw a state trooper peal out of the barracks followed by a BPD boat in the Charles River.  I got to my apartment, two helicopters circling, to hear on the news that an MIT officer had been ambushed a half mile from my house.  I went to bed thinking it was a robbery gone bad but was up at 3am after nightmares that there was something far worse going on; unfortunately my sleeping brain was right.

I spent the next 15 hours on my couch, obsessively following Twitter, every major news website and all of our local channels on TV.  The pre-dawn hours I longed for the sun to come up, anticipating that this would all be over once there was daylight.  As the morning wore on, not only was there a manhunt happening in the next town over, the FBI, state and local police had a house surrounded a few blocks down from my door complete with the bomb squad.  Turns out the alleged bombers had been living in my neighborhood all along.  The only word I can use to describe it was surreal.

Honestly I could write pages and pages about Friday, April 19th.  When the lockdown was lifted and they still didn't know where the surviving suspect was, it was one of the more unsettling feelings I've ever had.  The subsequent firefight and capture of "suspect #2" was an emotional end to one of the longest days of my life.

Everyone has dealt with this tragedy differently.  There were so many aspects of it that hit way too close to home for me, both literally and figuratively.  My best friend was just off the finish line on Boylston, narrowly escaping physical harm while the emotional side effects have been numerous.  The car jacking happened just a few blocks from my sister's apartment, a half mile from my house.  The MIT officer was killed across the street from my favorite restaurant.

I've always loved that the only two states that celebrate Patriot's Day is my home state of Maine and my adopted state of Massachusetts. I've now lived in Cambridge for just shy of eight years and it truly is my home.  Maine will always have a special place in my heart and I might well move back there some day but this city is a huge part of who I am.  I'm sad to think that the Marathon won't ever be the same but I'm grateful that I was able to experience so many glorious third Mondays in April.

I look forward to answers, closure and moving on.  Boston isn't typically known for its warm nature but this week has proved our resiliency, pride and humility.  I'm so incredibly proud to live in this city and to be surrounded by so many brave men and women, many of whom risked their lives to save others.  My heart breaks for those who lost their lives and others that lost limbs who's lives will never be the same.  It has been an emotional roller coaster that I'm sure isn't over but I'm proud to be one of the #BostonStrong.

In celebration of Marathon Mondays past...when we were younger, a little chunkier and definitely drunker!

The girl in the back left apparently found the bunny ears HILARIOUS. 

My 25th birthday in a miserably rainy, cold and windy Nor'easter...
My 30th birthday in a 90 degree heat wave!