BOSTON MARATHON: Audrey Evans Healing Process
On April 15, 2013, Audrey Evans was ready to celebrate another Boston Marathon Monday with her friends, a tradition now among a group who would watch their friend complete the race from their curbside spot they always occupied near the finish line on Boylston street. This year would be one for the books, since Audrey’s close friend, whom was running in the Boston Marathon to raise money for “Diamond Girls Boston” would be completing her first full Boston Marathon.
This year would prove, thankfully, to be the first in which Audrey and her friends did not stand in their usual spot – in the area where, later that afternoon, the second bomb was set off. She and her friends got out their cameras and video recorders as they stood on the curb. Audrey remembers that, at around 2:49pm, she heard the loud BOOM, as the first bomb had exploded. Standing on the barriers, looking over the crowd, she watched in fear as a smoldering, black cloud billowed out into the street. Moments later, the second bomb exploded, just yards from where she and her friends were standing.
“I saw debris, I saw things flying, all going up in black, smoldering smoke.”
The barrier she was standing on was pushed over as people began fleeing the scene, and Audrey suddenly found herself on the ground and unable to get up as people continued trampling over her. Audrey remembers thinking: “oh my god, oh my god, I am going to die". I didn't know where the bombs were – if they were in the building or not, because at the time you just didn't know where they were coming from. All I could think about on that ground was “I am going to die here because I cannot get up off of this ground and there is going to be another bomb and it could be right next to me.”
Miraculously, a man lifted them off the ground and set them on their feet, saving both Audrey and her friend. She remembered the confusion and chaos on the streets that day. Audrey remembered her shock as she saw “people coming in from the hospital in johnnies who had just had minor scratches and stuff from getting knocked down, and who came there because they wanted to help in any way they could. We all felt the same emotions: anger, fear, confusion, upset, shock... there were so many emotions that were being shared by everyone there, and you just hugged everyone around you - it didn't matter who you were. Everyone was going through so many emotions and we were all just hugging each other and supporting each other because we were sharing the same anger, grief, fear, confusion, everything...But no one knew what to do, because people weren't prepared for this, the city wasn't prepared for this...and everything was just crazy.”
In the aftermath of the bombings, Audrey struggled as shock and horror set in. She became obsessed with pictures and images of the most horrific scenes of the carnage that surfaced on the Internet. She was glued to the TV for three days, watching the news and calling her friends who had gone through the traumatic events of that day with her. “I would call my friends and we would cry and I just kept saying, “I can’t believe this, this is like a war zone with bombs are going off! This is America, this kind of stuff is not supposed to happen here; this kind of stuff can’t be happening here! How did this happen?”
Finally, she made an appointment with a fantastic counselor whom she still relies on for support, especially around this time of the year, as the buzz around town and the preparations for the Marathon often stir up emotions from that tragic and horrific day two years ago. She struggled through PTSD, along with survivor’s guilt and shock. But through the trauma, she begin the healing process by doing something good for others” Audrey said. By doing something good for others and helping out those who were physically affected by the bombings, it helped her in the healing process”.
Though the process is a long one, the trial has helped Audrey by giving her some sense of justice and closure. She has come away from the ordeal more humbled, spiritual, and compassionate than ever. Since life is short, Audrey intends to keep living each day like it is her last one, and cherishing the fact that she lives life to its fullest, rather than just going through life simply existing.
At the end of the day, Audrey concluded that she has come to realize that “you’re here on Earth for a reason, and a higher power decided that it wasn't my time to go. It is my duty not to disappoint this person or power because I could have very easily been a victim and could not be sitting here today. At the end of the day, and at the end of my life, I want people to look back and each have a story to tell about me. I want people to say, “She lived her life, she did everything, and she continues to enjoy life.”
By Carly Gutner - Davis
Photography by Marian Siljeholm & Danquell Bradford