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“The world breaks everyone and afterward
many are strong at the broken places.”

How do you feel alone in a city where there are millions of people. Surrounded by other survivors and people who support and love me, I still feel very isolated and alone. Everyone has grief this week. Everyone deals with it in their own way.

News people came over to interview me. I should have said no. I hate doing interviews. Mostly because they are more concerned with their “story” than they are concerned for me. They want a good scoop and they don’t care what they have to do to get it. So why did I say yes this time? I don’t know. I usually avoid the media. With the one year anniversary upon us, I know what she wanted to talk about. How far I’ve come this year. What I am still struggling with. What I’ve learned…

I have come a long way. I started off in the ICU. With a walker. Then with crutches and a full leg cast. Now I calk around barefoot in my house and with a small brace outdoors. I can go 2.7mph on the treadmill. I can pick up marbles with my toes. I didn’t know if they would ever move again. I have a great group of people who support me, love me, and pray for me. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this year without them. I learned so much about God’s strength. I learned so much about finding beauty in pain

But there are still tough days. For sure. I never feel great. I have a lot of back/shoulder/hip pain because of whats going on with my leg. There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed. I don’t really know how I feel about going to the marathon. I don’t really know how to process it. Kim and I were talking about it last night. We are going to go watch from a restaurant that is providing a place for survivors to watch away from the crowds. I don’t know how that will feel. Sometimes I think I will be fine walking through those same crowds again. Sometimes I don’t think I will be able to do it.

The Tribute event on Tuesday was so good. It was great to see people from the France trip, catch up with other survivors and meet some new ones. These people truly are strong. They are the definition of courage. It is so uplifting to be around them. We have all overcome unsurmountable odds. We have survived a terrorist attack. We are still standing. The Vice President’s speech was so eloquent. He said that the survivors, all of us, are defined by our courage.  “You have become the face of America’s resolve. You are the true definition of courage…” Mayor Menino spoke. With great difficulty in his failing health. He is such an inspiration of hope and a true example of a leader amidst chaos. He spoke from his heart. He spoke of our courage and of Boston’s support for us. “When lights dim and cameras go away, know that our support and love for you will never waiver.” He quoted Hemmingway: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places,” He scanned the two sections in the audience that were full of survivors: “You are strong at this broken place.” Hope in this dark place. Hope for the future. Hope that this event one year ago is not what defines us. 

I usually feel pretty good. I usually feel like I can handle it. Like the bombing is my past, but not always on my mind. Most days it seems like a dream, far, far away. But this week. It is here. We are survivors. We remember. We find courage to walk in those places, retrace our steps, stand in the crowds. We are Boston Strong. But I don’t feel stronger.