Day 106: Beautiful, wounded Boston

All my love to all the people who have been traumatized, in any way, by the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday.

Boston.  I’ve lived here all my life. It’s so beautiful, especially during this time of the year.

Here’s a picture I took on Saturday, when my son and I were walking around the Public Gardens.


We had just walked down Boylston Street, from the Finish Line, which was already set up for the race.  We were there, with so many people, at those very spots you’ve been seeing on your screens, over and over again.

It was safe then.

It’s changed now.  We’ve changed.

One thing I’m experiencing in myself and those around me (in Boston, in the U.S., and elsewhere) are people struggling to make meaning of this, to integrate what happened yesterday into their understanding of the world. Trying to incorporate this unexpected horror into a new understanding of now.

Because what happened here yesterday was new, wasn’t it?  At least for Boston.  And for the U.S., too.

Not for other places in the world, though.

Here’s a quote that’s sticking with me, right now:

At Massachusetts General Hospital, Alisdair Conn, chief of emergency services, said: “This is something I’ve never seen in my 25 years here … this amount of carnage in the civilian population. This is what we expect from war.”

And I saw some pictures, last night, that I will never forget.

Those pictures are available to the world.  Some of you, reading this, would have seen them, too.

I’m thinking about the people who were there, yesterday, on Boylston Street, and experienced those things directly.

I’m thinking about all the people, in the world,  who have experienced such things directly.

And I’m thinking of something else I noticed, this morning, on my computer screen. This headline:

It could happen anywhere.

That’s something we may always “know”, but some of us  know, now,  in a new way.

How do people heal from something like this?  How do they feel safe enough again?

I keep thinking  how my son and I walked down that stretch of Boylston Street on Saturday and all the pre-race celebrations we saw.  All the “normalcy,” the humanity, and the joy we witnessed that day.

That place will never look the same again.  It can’t.

Something I noticed yesterday: how quickly people reached out to others they thought may have been affected by the bomb blasts. I watched as I — and others who live here — received messages from all over: “Where are you?”  “Are you okay?”

I responded. I’m here. I’m okay.  Everybody I love is okay.

Untouched, physically.  Still alive. But changed, in some way.

I’m giving another presentation today — about the Power of Groups —  to the residents of the Boston hospital where I work.  This is a presentation that has caused me some fear and anxiety over the last week or so.

That feels so ironic — so strange — to me this morning.

Now, I’m just looking forward to connecting with others who live — and who have chosen to tend to others —  in Boston.  I’m hoping I can make enough room so people can get something they need this morning.  Something that helps.  A step towards a return to feeling safe enough.  A step towards knowing they can give enough to those they tend to.

And later in the day — and tomorrow,  Thursday, and into the weeks and months ahead — I will be facilitating groups for people who live, and receive their care, in Boston.

I remember being at  film school , at Boston University, the day  the Challenger space shuttle exploded. We all got the news right before we had to go into a class. I remember similar feelings of sadness, fear, and shock — and wondering how to integrate this new terrible knowledge into the now.

I remember sitting, that day,  in a classroom,  feeling alone — in my thoughts and feelings — in the presence of others, waiting for the teacher to come in.

And then the instructor, Thomas Ott, came in and sat down. He spoke to us. I think he asked us how we were. And then he waited.

I remember the somber look on his face. I remember the quiet tone of his voice.

I don’t remember what he said. But I remember, so clearly, how he made room for us, that day, to say what we needed to say.

I was so grateful.

Thank you, Thomas, for what you gave us, on that day in January 1986, in Boston.

It helped.

The Power of Groups.

Thanks, to you,  for being here.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “Day 106: Beautiful, wounded Boston

  1. Ann, I’m sure your words will help those who give care and treat the wounded. They give of themselves in emergencies without thought to their own trauma. Such a sad, shocked day – thank god for people like the doctors and professionals – and for you, my friend, who will always find the right things to say, and who always makes room for people to say what they need to say.

  2. Carol goodman

    Safe enough. That is the truth. Safe? No. It will take each person, in their own way, time and stories and expression to feel safe enough — to carry on. And that is not a fixed state of consciousness. We are continually adjusting..
    I found this entry very helpful, Ann. In fact it is the most helpful words I’ve read since the explosions. Love ..

  3. barbaralipps8

    Thank you, Ann, for your words today. I, too, found it helpul. You are in exactly the right place to be using the power of groups to help make room for people’s thoughts and feelings. That is the only thing that makes sense right now.

  4. Love your writing beyond words. Love to you and my hometown.

  5. Janis Moulton

    First, I was relieved to hear you and yours are okay. But then I thought about how all of the hurt are someone’s loved ones. My daughter used to live there and walk her dog along that street, and I’ve always loved Boston, so I do feel the sense that things will never be the same. I too found your words helpful, and I am sure you will help the people you know in dealing with this. You have so much wisdom to share and I’m glad to have access to some of it.

  6. Janis, I’ve always loved your wisdom, too.

  7. Jenn

    Thank you for your words Ann. My mind has been flooded with thoughts about randomness, safety, evil, resiliency, and faith just to name a few. Reading your blog helped me find comfort knowing others are struggling to make sense of and process the horrors and heroics of what we saw this Monday. Thanks

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