Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I've been meaning to sit down and write a post for a while, but every time I sit down at the computer I seem to find something else to do.  Summer is going well here.  So far the hot and humid days have been minimal and it has been nice watching Dozer grow.  She and Dee have such a special relationship.  There is nothing quite like walking through the door to two excited pups who are thrilled to see you.  Work at the clinic is challenging.  New clients, new supervisors, new challenges.  I thoroughly enjoy my clients, but they are also a lot of work.  I lie in bed at night and envision activities, formulate treatment plans, and try to figure out how to make myself a better clinician for these people.  If only they knew that I lose sleep over how to "play" with them and meet my goals.  One thing I have learned about getting a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology is that you don't get it unless you go through it.  My cohort and I have found a fun site written by an SLP student.  I shared the site with my mom and told her how funny it was.  She didn't get it, and it was then that I realized when you go into a specialty you need people.  You need "your people".  People who can talk about things only your group understands.  Sometimes it feels like a club, sometimes it feels lonely. I cherish my people (Shana, thank you for the advice and responding to every freak out text I send).  I get through each rough day knowing that 1. It gets better, 2. It will eventually feel more natural, and 3. Parents hand their children off to me and trust my skills.  And every week that they bring those children back to me is a vote of confidence in my skills.  So, thank you parents, for trusting your children with me during a time when emotions are running high.

There has been an unexpected element in my life since April as well.  April 15th to be exact.  Was I on Boylston Street when the bombs went off? No.  But the first week was spent not knowing what was going to happen next.  We didn't know who had done it, or where they were.  I went to school the day after the bombings.  Northeastern University is less than a mile from the scene.  It is also centered in the Longwood Medical area where the victims were recovering in various amazing Boston hospitals. In following weeks I drove past the scene on my way home. Past police barricades, soldiers, and a wall of flowers left by Bostonians, knowing the immediate danger had passed but the healing was just beginning. My classmate lost a good friend in the bombing.  68 students in my cohort, one lost a friend, and while it could have been worse, one is terrible enough to affect us all.

I must say that I was not as emotionally affected by the bombings than I was by the manhunt the following Friday which I will get into in a minute.  Yes, the bombings were unbelievably horrific, as were the photos from the scene.  But sometimes, at least for me, something is so awful that the brain cannot fully process the images.  My deeper reactions came when the photos of the bombers were released.  The minute the "white hat" bomber was shown I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had seen this man before.  Then it was discovered that he lived in Cambridge, where I worked for 18 months.  He was a lifeguard at the Harvard swimming pool, he was part of the community.  Had I passed him when taking the kids on a stroller ride to the park or Harvard Square? Had I had lunch next to him at a local eatery? I don't know.  But I am confident that we crossed paths at some point.  It is the only time I have ever had that reaction to a suspect's photo on the news.  I will never know why I knew his face, and that doesn't really matter.  But let me speak to the manhunt in Cambridge and Watertown the Friday after the bombings.  School was closed, Boston was closed, surrounding towns were closed.  I watched the local news, which was on 24 hours and commercial free for days, and saw tanks rolling through these places I know and love.  Sheriff staging areas outside the building where I took the kids for swim lessons.  Soldiers on corners.  And an unbelievable number of law enforcement officers from local to FBI to SWAT teams from neighboring states.  It was awe inspiring, as was the professionalism of our police force and, remarkably, our local media station.

It's been 50 days since the bombings, which has given me an opportunity to analyze the ways it has affected me.  In the first week it was obvious.  A siren was heard passing by school and an entire class shifts in their seats, looks toward the sound, acknowledges that what was once a daily city sound is different.  During that week the presence of officers and military on every corner was another constant reminder.  As time has passed the sirens aren't as loud, the streets have been opened, and the victims are out of the hospital.  Red Sox games are enjoyed at Fenway, the Bruins are celebrated, and the Duck Tours signal the influx of summer tourists.  Universities held their commencement ceremonies (including Boston University who lost a senior in the bombing), and Boston is still it's amazing self. I say "still" because that was never lost.  Humanity amazes me in what we are capable of, the terrible, and the magical.

So I go to school.  I drive on Boylston Street.  I hear the sirens a little louder.  I have a blue and yellow ribbon on my backpack.  I move forward and recognize how I've been changed.