Patriot's Day Mon, Feb 06, 2017
My boyfriend and I saw Patriot's Day last week - the movie about the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. What was already a really tough movie to watch was made even harder because of a personal connection to that fateful day.
I grew up with Jessica and her sister, Sarah, as they were neighbors just a few houses down and went to the same schools as I did. Sarah is my age and we were best friends in elementary school. Jessica used to babysit me and my sister, and our families were very close. Jessica and her new husband, Patrick, both studying to be doctors and working in Boston area hospitals, were at the finish line that day and each of them lost legs from the blast. Jessica lost both legs below her knee, and Patrick lost his left leg.
Unbeknownst to me before walking into the theater, both Jessica and Patrick have prominent roles in the movie and are both featured in an interview at the end of the film. To read email updates from Jess' family is hard enough, but to see a realistic re-creation of what Jess and Patrick went through was heartbreaking.
Ultimately, the takeaway from the film - and the reality of the years since that awful day - isn't about the hate of a few, but the love from many. Jess and Patrick received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donations for their medical bills and their future wellbeing from strangers across the world. Jessica has had over 30 surgeries since 2013 (doctors recently had to remove more of her right leg) and none of her days have been easy since then, but the love and kindness of strangers has gotten them through their darkest times.
It's hard to comprehend the capacity and the depth of hate that lives in the hearts of a few, but it's never present for long. The overwhelming tidal wave of love always swallows it whole. The perpetrators of hatred are always just blips on the radar, but the collective goodness of humankind is always everlasting.