I know you don't need me to tell you this, but it has certainly been a terrible few weeks. It has been exhausting and heart wrenching for so many people around the nation and of course, in Boston. I must have watched ten thousand hours of television coverage. It consumed most of my conversations and even in silence my mind screamed.
We often face our own mortality when we see and hear of such tragedies. We seem to appreciate what we have more when we think about losing it. I am glad that I know about Bostonians. Three years ago I didn't. Three years ago I had no clue what Boston or it's people were like.
I am so happy to call many Bostonians my friends. I know they are strong. I know they are caring and lovely and fierce. I am lucky enough to have seen it first-hand. My daughter and I spent months in Boston. We went from Boston's Children's Hospital to a hotel room. There are a few stories that I can share about our time there that may give you some insight into how those folks up there - the ones who talk funny - manage to help people who really need it.
Maria was given the most amazing medical treatment and we could not have asked for more. He doctors and nurses were amazing. They made us feel very comfortable and helped make our home away from home as comfortable as possible. It was not easy for them. I know that. They went above and beyond.
I've actually never shared this story - but, I asked Maria if it was okay and she said sure. When Maria was in the hospital she had severe pain in her leg and foot. The only thing that seemed to make her feel better was water. The bathroom - like in most hospital rooms - was pretty big, with a shower as part of the room itself. The drain right there in the middle of the room. There's no tub - the shower is sort of part of the floor. Can you picture what I mean? Anyway, so Maria would go in there, sit on a chair and run warm water on her leg and foot. I'd sit in there with her and we would act like we were sitting anywhere but the bathroom. We'd color, play games, listen to music, do puzzles and just talk - all while in the bathroom. Anyway, when the doctors and nurses came in - they never said a word. They'd just come into the bathroom and take vitals, give meds, ask questions, or whatever they needed to do. They never said one word about the fact that we were sitting in the bathroom. I mean it was odd. It was totally weird sitting in there. They didn't want to make Maria feel uncomfortable at all so they acted like it was no bit deal. Even the cleaning people and lab technicians would work around us. The therapists and school tutor would pull a chair right into the bathroom and join us! Seriously, it seems like no big deal, but it was a huge deal to us. It's something we will never forget.
Another extremely kind gesture happened on the day Maria was released from the Hospital. We weren't coming home, just going to a hotel so Maria could do six weeks of out-patient therapy. Anyway, so the day Maria got out, my husband and daughter, Alexa drove to Boston and picked us up. Maria was feeling well enough to go out to dinner. Keep in mind... we had only hospital food for months! At that point she was still in a wheelchair and could not walk at all. We went into a little Italian Restaurant that was recommended by the nice folks at our hotel. We wheeled Maria in and had a really nice dinner. I think I even had a glass or two of wine!! It felt so good to be out of the hospital, to be with my family and to be around other people who weren't sick. It was a relief. At one point, the waitress started talking with us and asked where we were from, etc. We explained that Maria had been in the hospital for a few months and it was our first night out. The waitress gave us her best wishes and carried on with her work. As we were set to leave the owner came over and said he was picking up the tab. I asked why and he said he just wanted to. It was such an incredible gesture. I literally started crying. Clearly an emotional basket case - but, also overwhelmed by such a nice gesture from a total stranger; a Bostonian.
I've talked to a few of our Boston friends since the bombing and they are all safe. They are going through a lot in that area, but they can handle it. I know they can. They know they can. I am looking forward to getting back there and visiting. Until then, I will continue to think about them and pray for them. If you've never been to Boston you should plan a trip. It is beautiful there and as I'm sure you've seen play out on your television -- the people are a big reason why it's such a great place!