On what should have been one of the happiest days of my life, my accomplishment of completing the Boston Marathon is marked with a smoky-fiery injury/death-filled asterisk. This isn't a race recap post. I'm not at a place to write that yet.
This will be a space for me to work through the myriad of emotions I felt on Monday.
Joy - however fleeting it was. It was there: as I waved to Tedy Bruschi & the rest of Tedy's Team cheering me on from the windows of The Lenox Hotel after passing Mile 26, as I caught a glimpse on my left of my wife and dad just before I crossed the Finish Line, as I actually stepped over that glorious yellow Finish Line and finally as I found my Mom on the other side of the Line.
Confusion - what was the noise (as my back was to the Line as I caught my breath)? Was it a celebratory cannon? I hadn’t been at the Finish Line since my dad ran 17 years ago.
Fear - as the explosions hit just a minute after I crossed that Finish Line, I immediately thought of my wife and dad ... Were they okay? Were they standing where it went off?
Anger - as people tried to flee the scene, they pushed past and over my Mom who was trying to walk with her cane to safety. I just started yelling at people to stop shoving and to be careful.
Relief - after a text from my wife saying she and my dad were okay and after a phone call to my dad telling him to collect my mom where I safely left her and we would all meet near the Commons.
Despair - as my phone died and I was wandering around Boylston St trying to figure out how I was going to reconnect with my family since we weren't able to find an exact meeting location.
Solace - in the sheer volume of first responders who whizzed past me on Boylston St (fire engines, police, etc) and in the volunteers that hugged me and let me borrow their cell phone to try and call my dad again.
(Also thank goodness I had my GoSportID bracelet on with his phone number on it!!) Panic - as I wandered down Newbury, alone and with no idea what would happen next. I also was starting to feel faint since I had nothing in my system besides Sport Beans and Swedish Fish.
Relief (again) - when I somehow ran into my friend Robin (who had finished the race 20 min before me) with her husband and friend. They were my beacon of hope. We found a set of stairs to sit on and Robin's husband found me snacks to eat (a Clif bar never tasted so good), Robin was able to text my wife our location and they stayed with me as we waited ... for what felt like years until my dad arrived!
Jubilation - at seeing and hugging my dad. As he helped me limp to meet my mom and wife, I just couldn't stop playing it over and over in my head. But then a huge teary-eyed hug from the wife was the best feeling. All 4 of us were safe and sound. Phew!
My panic level could finally start to drop!
But now 2 days later, I sit with the biggest emotion of all ...
It's because of me my family members are scarred by this too close experience of a terror attack.
It's because of me they were where they were.
How could I not feel that burden or carry that feeling?