Finish Line

The recent tragedy of the Boston Marathon Explosion hit me like a ton of bricks. In fact, as I write this the news is just hours old. I am heartsick. I am wrecked. I can hardly see between the salty tears.

Marathon 1.jpgThis is my husband. My best friend. My marathoner.

Marathon 2.jpgThis is my baby. The joy of my life. My heart beating on the outside of my body.

Marathon 3This is the two of them finishing a marathon together.

My marathoner is racked with guilt tonight. He’s solemn as he watches the news. “It could have been us babe…it really could have,” he whispers quietly.

It takes almost every ounce of courage to whisper back, “I know.”

The what “ifs” consume me, but the what happened fills me with despair- the confirmed two who were wrong place at the wrong time. They were probably there with their parents or friends. Patriot’s Day (or Marathon Monday) is a BIG FREAKING DEAL in Boston. It’s the best day of all to be a Bostonian so of course they were there. Maybe they caught the Red Sox game first and made their way from Fenway Park down to the finish line. I hope. No, I pray that they died quickly and thought this was the AWESOMEST DAY EVER.

I’ve crossed that finish line a hundred times myself. I know right where it is. I’ve crossed it with girlfriends on the way out to get drinks, I’ve crossed it with boyfriends (including the one who turned into my husband) on dates, I’ve crossed it to go shopping, and I’ve crossed while showing out of town guests the city that I fell in love with.

Whether you’re there by circumstance or birth, once a Bostonian always a Bostonian. There’s a reason why the Sox have such a presence on their road games. We’re a unique breed- scrappy, friendly in our own way, a fan of our teams even with they suck (lucky for us that hasn’t been in A LONG TIME), but most importantly 100% heart 100% of the time. If you saw the video of the explosion, you’d see it plain as day. The first thing I noticed was the people who were running towards the blast instead of away from it.

Humanity who chooses to run towards the chaos instead of from it, just in case they can make a tiny difference and help.

The temple in Brookline that opened their doors after the blast happened. Who let the marathoners make calls on their land line to loved ones. Who fed them and gave them water.

The runners who ran straight to Mass General to give blood.

The off duty policeman who kissed his wife goodbye and said “sorry, duty calls,” as he walked out of the door to rush to the scene.

The preschooler who said to me quietly after I told him, “Mama, did anyone get dead today?”

“Yes, Malone.”

“That’s terrible. Maybe I can color a picture to send to their family. What a terrible thing,” he responds.

Good people. Doing good things for no other reason than to help their neighbor.

That’s what gives me a little bit of hope in all of this.

19 Responses to Finish Line

  1. NJ, you are such a great writer. I couldn’t finish reading the ending out loud, due to getting too choked up. Especially Malone’s question! Heartwrenching! I cannot even fathom what you and your friends are going through! This hits close to home for reasons other than yours, but hits nonetheless. Knowing the exuberant atmosphere of the marathon and the unbelievable turn of events! Prayers to all!

  2. Your writing is beautiful. This whole tragedy breaks my heart and I am praying for you, Boston and everyone who has been impacted

  3. Beautifully written, NancyJo. I love the sweetness of your little guy! This evil is too hard to comprehend, too sad… but goodness and love shine so brightly in the dark.
    Amanda recently posted..A God who sees, a people who see, & being “in”My Profile

    • This picture is a little old, he’s less of a baby and more of a boy now. But I adore it nevertheless. It is so hard to understand the evil in this world!

  4. Nancy Jo,
    This does hit hard, knowing how close you guys are to the scene. Thanks for your words of truth and your honesty in sharing from your heart. It doesn’t really surprise me because that is the person you are. Proud of you at this moment and also hurting for you as you sift through the “debris” that this despicable act has caused in all our lives. Take care.

    • Thank you so much Gary! And thanks for visiting me in this space. Your words always mean a lot to me.

  5. Esther Irish (@LaughWithUsBlog)

    Yes it is all so, so sad. It is great though to see so many people come together to help!
    Esther Irish (@LaughWithUsBlog) recently posted..Beauty Consultation and Date Night #BeautyScoop #CBiasMy Profile

    • So many more great stories emerged after I published this. Mr. Rogers said it best- “look for the helpers.”

  6. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    The what-ifs plague me too. The thought of my family and kids at the finish line waiting for me around the 4 hour mark is unthinkable. The finish line should be a joyous place – not this. But I take solace in seeing the community, especially the running community, come together. And you’re right – Bostonians are a hardy breed that’s full of heart.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..For BostonMy Profile

    • My marathoner still is pretty wrecked. I wonder if he’ll ever want to run one again. But you are right- the running community has been incredible. And the stories of humanity have really encouraged me.

  7. Such a terrible thing! And so senseless.

    • I agree! I wonder, why the marathon. Why the city that I call home (even though I don’t live there anymore) Why.. why why.

  8. Xiomara Maldonado

    Malone is such a sweet child. As I read through the posts on the Boston marathon, I cry because I wish so badly that such pain didn’t exist in our world. The pure evil of such an act terrifies and overwhelms me. I am glad that you all are safe, but my heart and prayers go out to those who have been killed, hurt and traumatized by the explosions. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this tragedy.
    Xiomara Maldonado recently posted..Can You Just “Get Over” Depression?My Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words about Malone. The majority of the things I’ve read all have a sliver of hope and light to them amongst the despair. Bostonians have a really rough exterior, but a heart of gold.

  9. I am so angry that someone(s) destroyed one of the most perfect days anywhere. Patriots Day has always been a day of friends, family, happiness and inspiration. And now it is just a day of sadness and horror. I am not there yet, I can’t find solace in the positives.
    Heather recently posted..Today I am Sad – 4/15/13My Profile

    • I hope you get there someday. For me, if I let the “bad” dwell for too long without looking for the “hope” the bad will consume me. We’re all on our own path. Take your time. xo

  10. I think we have to look at the hopeful things to be able to go on.
    Shell recently posted..Shopping at The Home Depot #DigInMy Profile

Leave a Reply to NJ Rongner Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge