As I head into Boston today, on Marathon Monday, I really have to get something off my chest. Something I’ve kept inside for a year.
One year ago, on Marathon Monday in Boston, my new business quite possibly saved my life.
Marathon Monday 2013
My hubby and I had tickets for the 11:00 AM Red Sox game on Marathon Monday in Boston. After the game, we hoped to watch some runner cross the finish line, followed by a few adult beverages and nibbles, before taking the train home to pick up my daughter at 5:30. A fun, festive day in spring.
The sun was shining. Outside of Fenway Park, everybody cheered as the disabled athletes whizzed by on their bikes, about one mile from the finish line.
It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re witnessing peak performers at their best.
We head to Fenway Park. Now, I’m not much of a baseball fan, but it’s a treat to see the Red Sox once a year with my hubby. He so enjoys teaching me all the baseball strategy, and the fan energy is contagious (even for a native Wisconsinite like me!).
After the game, I texted my new friend Grace. A few weeks prior, we’d met at a networking event and I ordered some skincare products from her. As I knew we’d be in Boston that day, I arranged to pick them up in person near Fenway, at the corner of Mass Ave and Boylston.
Just a few blocks from the finish line.
Thinking we were late, we were surprised when Grace wasn’t at the rendezvous spot when we arrived.
So we waited. And waited. It felt like forever, but in reality it was probably only about 10 minutes.
10 minutes made all the difference.
While waiting, we heard one explosion, then another.
We were a few blocks away, and could see smoke, but had no idea what had happened. The corner was busy with pedestrians, and everybody was curious – including the police officer stationed on the corner. But nobody moved toward the smoke.
Eventually, Grace arrived, I picked up my things, and we started to leave. Then we saw the police. Cruiser after cruiser after cruiser. Dozens of them. The sirens were deafening en masse at close range.
We did see two girls running away, terrified, after a few minutes, but that was all. Nobody really knew what was going on.
Then we heard the four letter word we never expected.
Trying to Get Home
All I could think was that I was one very long bridge away from my daughter. We had to get home.
My brother-in-law was in law enforcement, and he said we shouldn’t take the train or subway anywhere. So we got my father-in-law to pick us up at my brother-in-law’s office. We just had to get there – about 3 miles away.
No taxis were around, we couldn’t take public transportation.
So we walked.
Texting family that we were OK. Trying to call, but the service was really patchy. Text was better. Facebook too.
And we walked.
At this point, most everybody knew that something bad had happened, so people walked around in shock. There were still tons of pedestrians around. Stunned runners too. We were stunned too.
And we walked.
I didn’t think we’d make it home to pick up my daughter. I did a flurry of calls and emails – hoping everything would go through – to quickly arrange for my sister-in-law to pick up Amanda. Hoping I’d actually see her that night.
And we walked.
The sun was warm, but not hot, my feet were starting to hurt, and I really had to find a bathroom. But we kept going.
There were still a massive bridge between where we were, and where I wanted to be so desperately.
Hugging my daughter. At home.
We finally arrived at our destination so my father-in-law could drive us home. It felt like we’d walked a marathon, and we didn’t even have a medal.
It was literally the longest day of my life. Longer than childbirth or the days following. Longer than an 11 hour flight trying to comfort a sleepless 2 year old.
We finally got to my sister-in-law’s house around 6:00. Amanda was fine, of course. Big hugs all around. Relief. Gratitude. Love.
I remember putting her to bed that night. So thankful for Grace and those 10 minutes.
That day could have gone very differently for us, as it did for the spectators and runners at the finish line, the first responders, law enforcement.
If I hadn’t started my business, I never would have met Grace and had the 10 minute delay. We would have been right there when the bomb went off. Who knows what would have happened to us.
Three people died that day, including the 8 year old son of Dan’s high school classmate, who happened to be running that day. Dozens lost limbs, and I can’t even imagine how many people have other physical or emotional trauma from what they experienced and witnessed that day and the days following.
But I know that because I’m an entrepreneur who wanted nicer skin which caused a 10 minute delay, I had what others wanted. On the night of the bomb, my family was all together at home. Whole, safe, together.
So, I want to thank all entrepreneurs for all the hard work you do. Being an entrepreneur is not easy, about as hard as parenting (give or take, depending on the day), in my opinion.
The work you do matters. Even on the really tough days, the work you do matters.
I heard once that you will have no idea how big your impact on the world will be.
The people you meet are impacted by you – whether they become clients, friends, acquaintances, or simply a 5 minute encounter at a networking event, a commenter on your blog, a social media follower.
I couldn’t agree more.
On Day 4 of my new business, I met Jeannie at a conference. After a while, Jeannie recommended that I see Heather speak, and at that event, I met Grace. We connected, and a few weeks later, she quite literally saved me and my husband from significant trauma, to significant injury, or possibly even death.
From the bottom of my heart, you matter.
You matter to me, even if I haven’t met you or clicked on all of your emails.
You matter to your family, for providing for them, nurturing them, loving them.
You matter to your community, for making it a better place to live, work, play.
Thank you for putting yourself out there.