Emotionally exhausted and struggling to digest

Monday April 15

Marathon Monday is one of my favorite days in Boston. The city is alive with people from around the world. It’s a celebration.

Nine-plus hours after the finish line explosions at the Boston Marathon I’m finally sitting down to digest what actually happened. I can’t comprehend it.

I got a text message as I sat down to eat lunch with a friend after watching the majority of the marathon in Brookline, about two miles away from the finish line. One text turned into hundreds. We told the waitress we couldn’t stay. I had to go to work. I hopped on the T — service was then suspended just a few stops down the road.

Then I ran, walked, jogged, cried, sobbed, screamed, my way to downtown Boston. I hurried, my bum leg and all, about three-plus miles. Nothing compared to what the marathoners were planning to celebrate Monday night.

On my walk I initially thought it was an electrical explosion — Boston, and Massachusetts, hasn’t had much luck with electricity lately (Back Bay blackout). As the text messages and phone calls poured in, I knew it was something more.

I started crying while running down the street. Some people were also in tears, others looked frantic, and the majority looked like nothing had gone wrong.

I was walking down a street that runs parallel to Boylston Street, where the explosions happened. I was two blocks off that street running and wondering. I could smell the explosion. It was smokey, but not in a good way like a bonfire, mixed with burnt hair and other unrecognizable scents. Sirens screamed by, police blocked the entrance to T stations, and everyone was in a state of confusion.

I got to work and I went into journalist mode. I tried to keep my shock to a minimum so I could attempt to concentrate on work. In a way, it’s helpful. I pretend it’s not really happening. It’s how I handled the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and other heartbreaking events.

But what happens when you go off the air? The pretending ends. It’s real life. People have died. People were injured. The city you have called home for nearly four years was attacked. A finish line, painted on the ground year round, has a different meaning. A day full of celebration has turned dark.

I never thought I would live in a city where something like this would happen. Let alone know people at the finish line. Runners in the race. Potential victims. We’re all victims in a way. All of our hearts ache.

I’m sure this won’t be my last rambling post about today’s events. As this story unravels, as details come out about victims and so on, I’ll need to attempt to digest again.

Today Boston came together and so did people around the U.S. and the world. It’s sad that it takes a tragedy to realize how much people care. I can’t count the number of texts, calls, facebook posts and tweets I got from friends, family, old professors, high school art teachers, long-lost friends, friend’s parents… They were short messages from “Are you safe?” to “Are you okay?” to “I’m thinking about you”. It meant the world to me. I hope this caring attitude spreads across the globe. I hope people can join together and these senseless acts will end. One day the world won’t fear to celebrate…

Barack Obama said today: “Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.”

We’re resilient. We’ll pull together. But for now, we’re hurting. A lot. Please keep this amazing city in your thoughts and prayers…hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

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4 thoughts on “Emotionally exhausted and struggling to digest

  1. Great post, Melissa! Well, I mean, not great…because this was an awful day. So more like, great conveyance of your emotional state in the context of the day’s event.

  2. Pingback: Deep breaths | Adventures of a Minnesota Girl

  3. Pingback: Q&A With WHDH’s Melissa Turtinen | UMass Journalism Professor's Blog

  4. Pingback: Training begins now (finally) | Adventures of a Minnesota Girl

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