Three years ago I wrote these posts. Can you believe its been three years? So many ups and downs. Such a journey. The bonds we have formed with other survivors, people like Steve. Dara. Sam. Nicole. Liza. Linda… These can never be replaced. No one knows my feelings like they do. No one understands my emotions as much as they do. What a BLESSING it has been to have such a wonderful, tight knit group come out of something so tragic. I love that three years after the bomb we are even closer and I imagine thirty years down the road we will still be the best of friends. We share a bond that can never be taken away. To my survivor family, I love you guys. I couldn’t get through the hard days without you.
Today is a lot of mixed emotions. Mostly I am fine. This is the first year I haven’t gone back for the marathon so it does feel a bit like something is missing. I know it seems strange to want to go back to that place, but its more going back to my people, my city. Those who were so strong for me when I had no strength of my own. The community of survivors is what I miss on days like this. And on marathon monday I know I will be missing them even more. Knowing they are all gathered together, cheering on the next set of Boston Marathoners.
Most people now don’t know. I live in a new place. With new friends. A new job. It is weird to have people who know so little about the biggest event in my life. Some know absolutely nothing. But it isn’t something I tell people anymore. It seems so strange to bring it up. Oh yeah, I was in a bomb. My leg is a mess and yeah you know… I don’t want pity. And no one understands. So sometimes its better to just keep that part of my life in the unknown. But it’s still a part of me. It’s part of who I am. I will always bear the scars. I don’t usually think about it. But today is a day to remember… So here’s some old stuff from those first few days.
Today I met Steve. Steve was in the ambulance with me when we rode to the hospital. He was watching the marathon with his 4 year old son. He was hurt far worse than I. But all I remember from the ambulance is him holding my hand and alternating a between telling me it was going to be ok, and yelling at the medics to find his son who was now all alone. He held my hand the whole way. i have been wondering about him. How he was doing. Did they ever find his son? So today, then the nurse told me the man who rode in the ambulance with me was hoping to see me before he left for rehab, I was of course eager to see him. He came in on a stretcher, on his way out of the hospital. when he saw me tears formed in his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. I of course started crying as well. his son had been missing when we were together in the ambulance so I inquired after him first. They foun him and he only had a small scratch on his head an was fine. Thank God. And Steve? He said he was fine. But I pushed. Really fine? No. His leg was missing from the knee down. I cried even more. My leg is useless and probably will be for a very long time, but at least I have it. Steve is going to the same rehab center that I am so as he was pulled out of my room we promised to find each other. I don’t know Steve. But I know he held my hand during some off the scariest moments of my life. And for that I will be eternally grateful.
Rehab has three hours of physical therapy a day. That scares me. But then I remember that Meggie and I were spending almost 3 hours a day at the Y before I came here, so I got this! We were swimming almost an hour a day and I know that is the only reason I have the upper body strength to pull myself around on the walker. God was preparing me for this long before I even knew I would need the strength. Amazing right?
Please continue to pray for pain management for all of us. It can be extremely frustrating to be in so much pain. Also continue to pray for God’s healing in each of our lives. Lastly pray for my family members who although they were not hospitalized, still experienced as much trauma as we did and who are getting very worn traveling from hospital, to hospital, surgery, to surgery. There is no way we could make it through each day without all of your prayers. Thank you so much for your faithfulness.
I am moved to rehab. Kim and Colton and my Aunt Shari have gone. Slowly the visitors are dwindling down and people are returning to their normal lives. But what does that mean? Many of us will not be returning to normal life. Maybe ever. Our injuries will be with us. We may never walk normally again. We may never be the same as we were before. Even if we get to “normal” physically, these events will always be with us. And I can’t even process that yet. I don’t know what that will look like one month from now, one year from now, ten years from now. But I read these verses and I am comforted. My Father knows what the future looks like, and He tells me “do not be worried about your life.” I hope that comforts you. I hope that you can read these verses and find some peace. The road ahead is long. And will be very painful. But we can do it one day at a time.
25“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?26“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?27“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?28“And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,29yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.30“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!31“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’32“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Anyway, there have been several comments that whenever we show up in a picture, there is utter chaos surrounding us, but we all look so peaceful. We are either laying patiently on the ground, or sitting calmly. In the midst of chaos, peace. And I never would have had a second thought about it, but several people have brought it up today. And I’m not ready to write about all that happened in those moments. The explosion etc, but I would like to address this one subject.
First of all, there must have been hundreds of angels all around us. The new Chris Tomlin song Whom Shall I Fear kept running through my head. “The God of Angel armies is always by my side”. So yes, I believe there were angels all around us. We were so close to the bomb, we should be hurt much worse, or even dead. Although our injuries are extensive, they should have been much worse. Second, Colton brought this up to me today. People keep asking “where was God in all of this?” Just look at the pictures. Look at the chaos and then look at me or Rebekah, or Peter or Kim or Colton. That’s where God was. We are His children, filled with His Spirit. In the midst of chaos, He WAS there. Third, I believe that God gave us so so much grace. Grace to think clearly. To know how to respond in trauma. To know to tie tourniquets. Or to coach people to breathe. Or to know how to communicate with the first responders. Not one of us lost control or freaked out.
Someday I’m sure I will look at the pictures. But I just want you to know today, that God was there. He was with us. We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for Him. And as we are experiencing more and more of His grace everyday, we are amazed and speechless and we just keep clinging to Him.
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side