As I was driving down Beacon Street on my way to Spaulding Rehab's Aquatics Therapy Class last night, I noticed that the mile markers have been repainted in anticipation of the running of the 118th Boston Marathon. As I drove through Kenmore Square, I saw the freshly painted "One Mile to go" marker. I got on Storrow Drive and I could not process what I saw in the distance; thick smoke coming from a building.
Oh maybe it's just the smoke from a fireplace in the brownstones being carried by the wind gusts.
We had an amazing Aquatics Therapy Class. I could feel my legs building strength as I did laps with the kick board. Because we had a small class, we received even more individual attention than usual. We could make use of the entire pool since there were no patients and a small class. I was able to experiment with challenging myself using deeper or shallow waters and then talking with Karis, our therapist, about my experience. We did planks using a noodle and I could feel my core strength. I was "deep" into my mind/body connection. I had the equivalent of a runner's high after the class and felt the best I have felt in a long time. The aches and pains that linger with our never ending winter had melted away. They were replaced by soreness and a sense of strength and a renewed sense of healing on a deeper level.
As we drove down Charles Street the #weruntogether banners were flapping in the wind:
Traffic was backed up on Storrow Drive and the Copley Square exit was blocked off by State Police cars. A heaviness hung in the air although it was yet unnamed. Cars were uncharacteristically polite allowing for lane changes. There was an eerie silence as we drove by the fire scene with ambulances and fire trucks and a building that had been gutted. It was another moment frozen in time in less than 12 months in Boston.
When we returned home and went through my Facebook feed, we learned the tragic news that two of Boston's heroes had fallen and 18 were injured and taken to local hospitals. One of the firefighters, Michael Kennedy, had been a first responder at last year's Boston Marathon bombings and was training to run this year's marathon.
Hearts are broken once again in our beautiful city and once again we come together as a community to grieve, honor lives that were lost and see beyond the tragedy to strength, heroism and sharing love and caring. There is an outpouring of love at the Fire Station for those who were lost as flowers and food are being delivered to support Engine 33 and Ladder 15.
I am once again reminded that all we have is today; a lesson I started to learn at the age of 5 when I contracted paralytic polio and my life was changed forever and a lesson I learn over and over and over again. But along with the fragility of life, and knowing all we have is today, I am also reminded that all we need is love to get us through whatever tragedy and trauma life throws our way. While we cannot change tragic events, we can help each other heal through the power of loving and caring for and about each other.
My heart goes out in love and prayers to the brotherhood of firefighters who lost two of their beloveds and their families, those injured in the blaze and those who lost all of their possessions and to all who are moved by yesterday's tragic events.
Out of our deepest wounds we find our greatest strength, our most beautiful treasures and the knowledge that love is far greater and more powerful than any experience we endure.~Mary McManus