Taking Back My Finish Line

Two years ago I was confronted by the face of evil and my life ahs never been the same. Like any other American, I never expected my life to be impacted by terrorists filled with hate, yet twice my life has been touched in a very personal and profound slap. Twice the choices of evil men have sought to take life. One man pretended to be an ally and a friend, yet he looked into my Phil’s face and shot him time and time again. The second time terrorism slammed into my life was the Boston Marathon of 2013.

I had been invited to run the Boston Marathon to honor Phil’s life. I chose to wear polka dots and a TAPS singlet with Phil’s picture as I ran on sure and steady feet toward the finish line. I was embracing my life, thankful for the day. I could see the finish line and I was one stop light from the finish line when I heard the first boom. The ground shook and the man next to me asked if they were using cannons at the finish. In the time it took me to say no, the second boom happened. At this point, I will never forget, the screams, smells, the raining debris, and people running for their lives. I was one of those running in terror. I did not know where to go, what to do, and I will never forget the panic and the fear that entered my life. I eventually ran into a Dunkin Doughnuts where two people, strangers then, but friends now, found me and sat with me.

In the days that followed, something kicked into my heart. I simply could not and cannot let terrorism take any more from me. Terrorism and evil had already taken the future I had planned with my Phil and it had already shattered my heart, but it was not going to take the one normal place from me. Running was my safe place, the place I felt happy, and the place I felt normal after Phil was killed. I decided to fight back.

I fought through my fears and I took back my finish line last year. Instead of the sure and steady feet of the year before, I ran on faltering and fearful steps to the finish. When I finished that last step, it was a victory of sorts. I had won this one; I had beaten those that seek to take life and destroy the hearts and lives of those left behind. I choose life. I choose to stand up to those vile monsters each and every day by making the choice to find happiness and to work meaningfully in the resiliency field. Sometimes it is that simple. I will always have nightmares and flashbacks of that day when certain sounds and smells come, but I am going to continue on and on. Evil is not winning this one. I may stumble, but I am going to take the finish line each and every day until I have no more days.


  1. […] Taking Back My Finish Line. […]

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