My Patriots’ Day

 

For several years my cousin has been trying to get me to go to the Red Sox game on Patriots’ Day.  Each year I would say no because of work.  Since my diagnosis, I realize that spending time with family and friends is important.  I feel a sense of urgency to spend time with them because I don’t know how many times I have left.  Plus, it didn’t hurt that the Boston Red Sox were playing my favorite team, the Tampa Bay Rays.  In Boston, Patriots’ Day is a state holiday and the city is filled with people that watch the marathon, attend the baseball game and just party.  I drove up to Boston with my brother and sister-in-law.  We decided to drive into the city instead of taking the “T”, the subway line, because using public transportation exposes me to more germs.

my view of the game

my view of the game

 

The day was beautiful and sunny.  I thought the Rays were going to pull out a late win until the Red Sox won on a walk-off.  I could feel the spectators’ excitement and joy upon leaving the stadium.  After the game, my cousin and his friends celebrated the win at a bar.  Tim, Andrea and I went to watch the race.  Our plan was to watch the marathon, make our way to the finish line, then take a cab back to our car.  We were just past the mile 25 mark when we stopped to get drinks at 7-Eleven.  A spot along the route opened up and we were able to squeeze in to watch the runners.  I’ve never been to a marathon and I thought it would be boring to watch people run, especially without knowing them.  The race was surprisingly inspirational.  Many of the runners had their own names written on their shirts or arms.  We cheered them on as they ran.  I noticed several people running for cancer.  I recall seeing a man named Matt whose shirt said “I Beat Cancer”.  In that moment I wanted to be Matt.  It was beautiful and inspiring to see a person beat cancer and run a marathon.  I pictured myself running a marathon and wearing that shirt.  Running a marathon is an amazing accomplishment.  After seeing Matt go by, I became emotional and began cheering on every runner.  At mile 25 I saw the toll the marathon had taken on their bodies and how cheering them on helped.  Another runner stood out, a mother running and pushing her daughter in a jogging wheelchair.  The daughter was disabled and they were running for the Boston Children’s Hospital.

my view of the marathon

my view of the marathon

 

As we finished our drinks, we began walking to the finish line to catch a cab.  We were five blocks from the finish line when the bombs went off.  To me, it sounded like a car backfired.  I didn’t think it was a bomb.  Three girls came towards us crying and holding each other.  They told us there had been a bombing.  Immediately we heard sirens echoing throughout the city.  The sound of sirens continued for hours.

As we walked around the city, we didn’t know how horrific the bombings were.  We heard reports that 12 people were hurt but information was difficult to come by.  No one was able tell us what was going on.  I saw many runners, families and tourists walking around aimlessly not knowing where to go or what to do.  Despite the constant sound of sirens, the city was not in chaos.  The city streets seemed eerily calm.  People weren’t running around frightened.  I look back at that moment and see the city as a city in shock.

We safely made it to our car and learned about how horrendous the incident truly was.  We started thinking of the “what ifs”…what if we didn’t go to 7-Eleven and wait in line for five minutes to buy a drink?  What if we didn’t stay and watch the race for 20 minutes at the 25.5 mile mark?  What if we decided to go to the party at the finish line?  We had invitations to a party at a building in front of where the first bomb went off.  Life is full of “what if” scenarios and I’m very fortunate and grateful that it was just a “what if” scenario for me.  My heart and prayers go out to all of those affected by this senseless act.  I pray for strength and healing for the victims, their families, and the city of Boston.

I’ve learned to appreciate experiences in the moment and not take things for granted.  I can’t guarantee these moments will happen again.  I am never “going through the motions” when I give my wife and kids a hug and kiss.  Instead, I hold onto and cherish those moments.

*The woman and daughter I refer to in this post can be seen in the news video of the race at the site of the first bomb.  They can be seen running on the left side of the screen, almost parallel to the 78 year old man.  It’s surreal to think that I was cheering for them 15 minutes prior.

 

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4 Responses to My Patriots’ Day

  1. Jen Tyler Daisey says:

    Kevin-I just started following your story because I saw so many comments on facebook. I know we haven’t seen each other since high school but I feel like I still know you through your eloquent writing. Keep up the fight and stay strong! I know you can beat this-you have everything in your corner! Please continue to keep us updated-as you are truly an inspiration and a reminder that every day is a blessing, not to be overlooked!

  2. weinkp1 says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and support Jen. It’s good hearing from you.

  3. mark Nugent says:

    I know why you have never been to a red sox game on patriots day….the red sox are just not that good of a team so why waste the day unless you want beer and chicken wings!!

    Just saw the blog wein and am sending prayers and best wishes to you and your family. WIth God all things are possible so just keep going one day at a time!!

  4. weinkp1 says:

    I agree completely Nugent with everything you said. Thanks.
    P.S.- My daughter is stil sleeping with her Kung Fu Panda stuffed animal. Thank you

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