April 15, 2013: The feelings that I feel today are surreal. It is like a bad dream that you can't seem to wake up from.
Marathon Monday, Patriots Day, is my favorite day of the year. It is the day when the earliest Major League Baseball game of the year is played (the only game of the season technically played "in the morning"). It is a day to celebrate the arrival of spring, to honor athletes from around the world, and to root for the Boston Red Sox. This year, our lives were all turned upside-down on Patriots Day.
I have lived in Boston for 11 years now. My mother has been here longer. She was born and raised in Charlestown (that little town in the movie with the hunks and heavy accents) -- yes, that town. To say our roots run deep is an understatement.
As a child, I was lucky enough to grow up experiencing everything Boston had to offer. I got to watch good ole No. 33 take the Celts to a championship at the old Garden. I was lucky enough to ride on the swan boats each spring, and to feel nauseated in the Omni Theater. If you ever need a good laugh, you can ask my mother to tell you the story about my sneaker being eaten by the escalator in the Children's Museum.
As an adult, I have been lucky enough to witness some of the nation's best sports history. I have watched the greatest team in baseball snap an 86-year losing streak, bringing grown men to tears. I have been there with the Patriots throughout the ups (three rings) and the downs (18-1). I have shed tears of joy watching the Big 3 bring the Larry O'Brien trophy home to their fans, and watching little Tyler Seguin hold the Stanley Cup over his head on a Duck Boat.
These memories are all chiseled into my heart and soul, my very being. They have undoubtedly made me the person I am today. These are memories that will last a lifetime. I would not trade any of these memories for all of the money in the world. These are memories I hope to someday share with my children.
However, on April 15, we were unfortunate enough to witness an event that no Bostonian will ever be able to forget.
If the events of that day have taught me anything it is this: Bostonians are tough. We are resilient, and determined. In the face of disaster, we do not back down. We run into the fire when most would run out. We take care of each other, before ourselves. We ban together when our city needs it the most. In the darkest of days, we are one. The events of this year's Marathon tragedy have taught me more about Bostonians than I had ever thought possible.
Above all, I have learned, the entire nation had our backs when we needed it the most. I believe I can safely say, on behalf of Bostonians everywhere, that the outpouring of support has humbled us to the core. ("Sweet Caroline" at Yankees Stadium?) Boston is a strong city, but I will be the first to admit, even the strongest people need a little help sometimes.
This loyalty, passion, and love for Boston are what I will take away from April 15.
Boston is my home, and I know that someday, my children will grow up with the same sense of Boston Pride that I have. The lives that were lost will not be lost in vein. My children will enjoy the aquarium, will ice skate on the frog pond, and will eat a Fenway Frank at the park on Marathon Monday.
November 5, 2013: This above was written late at night on April 15, 2013. Writing was my way of dealing with the tragedy, writing was my therapy. I showed it to one person, a life-long friend, who said: "Meg, this is awesome, share it whenever you are ready." Up until this point, I was never ready. I didn't feel like my story had the proper "ending." That night, I put my story aside, hoping that someday, the ending would write itself.
This past Saturday, I was again lucky enough to witness a piece of Boston history, but this time, it was different. For the city, watching the Duck Boats travel down Boylston Street on Saturday meant a lot more than the fact that the Red Sox were the World Champions; it meant closure. It was at that very moment, when the Duck Boats stopped at the Marathon finish line while "God Bless America" was sung throughout the crowd, that I knew, I had my ending. That single moment was the closure that Bostonians needed. The strength and resiliency of Bostonians had been tested, and we have come out stronger, and more unified because of it.
It has taken me nearly seven months, but I am finally ready to share my story, because it finally has an ending.
Follow Megan Walsh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MWalsh11