There is a condition called The Anniversary Effect, “defined as a unique set of unsettling feelings, thoughts, or memories that occur on the anniversary of a significant experience.” (thanks to http://www.psychologytoday.com for that tidbit of information).
Over the last month or so I’ve been following the One Run For Boston facebook group which of course is comprised of many Bostonians. Several have mentioned that emotions have really been running high in the city recently, and one woman commented that the anniversary has brought so much back up to the surface that people thought they’d dealt with months ago.
I have to say, I’ve been thinking a lot about April 15, 2013 over the last couple of weeks. It is still so surreal to think that Aaron and I were in Boston one year ago.
Of course, there are the marathon memories. The Scream Tunnel at Wellesley that gave me so much motivation, the feeling of badassery that came with hitting the top of Heartbreak Hill, and finally coming to the Right at Hereford, then the Left at Boylston with my first Finish Line sighting. All wonderful memories of my time running my dream race.
But the memories of post 2:50 pm are so much more prominent.
I remember that Whitney (a blog friend who I had met at a race before) was the first person to text me and ask if I was ok. At that point, we didn’t know what had happened, and she was the one that broke the news to me that there had been an explosion at the Finish Line.
I remember all of the sudden getting a ton of messages, and having to post on facebook and twitter that we were all right. Shortly after that, cell service was cut.
I remember having so many racing thoughts during our 2 mile walk to our hotel in Cambridge. Wondering if another bomb was going to go off. Wondering where I’d run if a building collapsed behind me. Remembering back to a cold fall day in October, the day after the Chicago Marathon, sitting in a Bacon and Beer Bar in Chicago, deeply conflicted over whether or not I should register for Boston 2013 or hold off until 2014, and thinking that I should have listened to Aaron and waited to run.
But the most clear memory for me was getting back to our hotel, turning on the television, and seeing footage of the Finish Line, where I had just been, getting blown up. My body tried to cry, but I was too dehydrated to produce tears. I will never forget the feeling of seeing that footage for the first time.
I have never experienced fear like I did in the following days. We went into Boston the next day and I couldn’t walk past any trash cans without wondering what was in them. There were armed guards with automatic rifles on every corner. We drove into New York that night, and even though we were far away, I couldn’t sleep. Back home in Albuquerque on Wednesday, I still felt so vulnerable. It wasn’t until I woke up on Friday morning to see that the suspects were in hot pursuit that I felt any relief. When the younger brother was found, I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. It is unfathomable to me that so many people live in that type of fear for an entire lifetime because it was truthfully maddening.
I do believe in moving on and focusing on the positive, but sometimes, especially on milestones like anniversaries, reflecting on what we’ve been through is the only way to look forward. The more we talk about our bad experiences, the less power they have over us.
But, more than our experiences, April 15th is about the amazing people who have shown strength in the face of adversity.
During the last year, we’ve seen stories of SURVIVAL. 264 people were injured, and 14 of them required amputations. Despite this, we’ve seen them overcome. We’ve seen them get engaged, get married, and start families. We’ve seen them rock climb and train for marathons.
They haven’t lied about their struggles, but more often we’ve seen them smile, and we’ve seen how much life goes on after tragedy. They inspire me every day.
The phrase “Boston Strong” has come to be the mantra of Bostonians, the people who were there like us, and all runners who have ever crossed a finish line or had supporters cheering them on from the sidelines.
There have been far more stories of hope and strength in the last year than of fear and terror. Just my experiences with One Run For Boston this past month have shown how supportive we are of each other and our community.
Sadly, there will be other acts of terror and other senseless violence. Just this weekend three people were shot in Kansas City for no other apparent reason than being Jewish. Last week a teenager stabbed more than 20 of his classmates. Today is just one of many anniversaries that will draw forth strong emotions of loss. But we will go on, and we will endure. Days like April 15th will come to symbolize our patriotism, our pride, and our strength in the face of evil. And I firmly believe that good will always triumph.
“Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.” – Psalm 34:14
In honor of all those who lost their lives and whose lives were forever changed on April 15, 2013 including:
Krystle Campbell, 29 Fatal injury
Martin William Richard, 8, Fatal injury
Lingzi Lu, 23, Fatal Injury
Sean Collier, 26, Fatal Injury
Richard H. Donohue Jr., 33, Severe injury
Kaitlynn Cates, 25, Severe leg injury
Brittany Loring, 29 severe head, leg and arm injuries
Sydney Corcoran, 17, severe leg injury,
Heather Abbott, 38, Severe leg injury
Jeff Bauman Jr., 27, Severe leg injury
Roseann Sdoia, 45, Severe leg injury
Jacqui Webb, Severe leg injury
Patrick Downes, 30, severe leg injuries
Jessica Downes, 32, severe leg injuries
David Yepez, 15, Head and arm injuries
Jarrod Clowery, 35, Hearing loss, leg injuries
Aaron Hern, 11, Leg injury
Remy Lawler, 25, Upper leg injuries
JP Norden, 31, Severe leg injury
Paul Norden, 33, Severe leg injury
Caroline Reinsch, 39, Severe leg and ear injuries
Christian Williams, 41, Severe leg and hand injuries
Adrianne Haslet, 32, Severe leg injury
Adam Davis, 33, Severe foot and leg injuries
Sarah MacKay, 21, Severe leg and ear injuries
Ron Brassard, 51, Severe leg, artery, and nerve injuries
Karen Brassard, 51, Severe leg and ankle injuries
Krystara Brassard, 20, Severe hip and ankle injuries
Karen Rand, 52, Severe leg injury
Alvaro Galvis, 62, Severe leg and buttocks injuries
Martha Galvis, 60, Severe leg and hand injuries
Beth Roche, 59, Severe leg injury
Marc Fucarile, 34. Severe leg, chest injuries
Erika Brannock, 29, Severe leg injury
John Odom, 65, Severe leg injury
Eric Whalley, 65, Severe head injury, other wounds
Ann Whalley, 65, Severe leg injury
Sarah Girouard, 20, Injuries to lower extremities, received surgery
Celeste Corcoran, 47, Sydney’s mother, severe leg injury
Nicole Gross, 31, Severe leg and ear injuries
Marilyn Kight, 63, Severe leg injury
Denise Richard, Severe upper body injury, Martin Richard’s mother
Jane Richard, 7, Severe leg injury, Martin Richard’s sister
Denise Spenard, Abdominal injury
Lee Ann Yanni, 31, Severe leg injury
J.P. Craven, 24, Head injuries
Michelle L’Heureux, Severe arm and leg injuries
Darrel Folkert, 42, Leg injuries
William White, Severe leg injury
Victoria McGrath, 20, severe leg injuries
Michael Gross, 38, Head injuries
Michelle Connolly, 52, Head injuries
Nicholas Yanni, 32, Temporary hearing loss
Ascer Barlatier, 35, Wounded in chest and leg
Jenny Chung, Shrapnel wounds
Dan Soleau, 36, Hearing loss
Ryan C. McMahon, 33, Back and arm injuries
Mery Daniel, 31, Severe leg injury