It began with a 6 a.m. phone call.
They found the bombers. One’s dead. The other’s on the loose.
Don’t leave the house.
Waltham, my home of five years, was in lockdown. Soon all of Boston would be too, and every eye in the nation was glued to the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bomber taking place just outside my door.
As you might expect, the news hit close to home, but for reasons beyond the lockdown. The shootout that claimed one of the bombers’ lives took place right around the corner from where my wife and I used to live. The apartment building where the police discovered the surviving bomber’s blood after he made his escape was just across the street from where my best friend used to live. When the bombs went off at the marathon earlier that week, my daughter and I were at Watertown’s Arsenal Mall–now the staging area for the manhunt and visible on every American’s TV screen. And every other location the news chose to film that day, I knew intimately. For the first time in my adult life the biggest breaking news story in the entire world was unfolding in my back yard.
People learn a lot about themselves in situations of life and death. They discover how they’d act when the things that matter become the only things that matter. And what to do differently should the unthinkable befall them again.
Well, I learned a great deal about myself that day too. I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t the father and husband I could have been. I wasn’t attentive enough and I wasn’t protective enough. But I know what to do differently next time. I know what I did wrong.
And I know I’ll never allow it to happen again.