An Open Letter to the Bomb That Didn’t Detonate.


You don’t know me.  You don’t care about me.  You wanted to maim and kill hundreds of my fellow Bostonians, but still, I am grateful to you.


Because you didn’t go off.  You were sitting exactly underneath where my boyfriend stood innocently, managing security for the Boston marathon.

Because you didn’t go off, I am not sitting here, trying to piece together how a thirty-two year old mental health counselor would financially support a one-year-old by herself.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to worry if my daughter will ever know balance, because the one person who embodies calm and humor and fluidity in our family is still here.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to explain to my child how her father used to swing her up in the air and tickle her until she was sick of laughing.  I also don’t have to explain to her how I used to hate it, how I would fear he was overstimulating her, and that now I miss it dearly.

Because you didn’t go off, I won’t have to feebly explain to my daughter her late father’s love of California, Hollywood, and all things L.A.  He’ll be there to show her around.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to search for a second best replacement for a generous man who loves us and his family more than the stars in the sky.  A man who knows that if he keeps his lady happy, he’s happy.  A man who gives, and gives, and gives.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to tell my daughter how her father used to sleep with her on his chest between the hours of nine and two so her mother could get some sleep when she was one month old.  He can do that.

Because you didn’t go off, my boyfriend is beside me sleeping peacefully.  Breathing in and out.

But because you didn’t go off, I have guilt.  Strange guilt, because there are four families out there who never again get to listen to the sound of their loved one’s breathing.  You mystify me.  Why did the others go off and you didn’t?  Was it part of some grand master plan?  Or was it just that you weren’t carefully made?  Because you failed, I feel guilty.  Guilty, because I was lucky.  They will not get to cuddle next to their little boy during his nighttime routine again.  They will not get to walk their daughter down the aisle.  They will not get to listen to their daughter’s dissertation.  He will not get to hold his baby when she turns seven months old.

Those bombs went off; but you didn’t.

Strange that I should be grateful to you, a weapon of mass destruction, a symbol of everything sad and hateful and ugly in our society.  But I am.

And, because you didn’t go off, here we sit, numb and angry and nightmare-ridden.  But at least we get to feel angry.  At least we get to dream.

The line between the here and not here is so very, very paper-thin, so very fragile.

And I have you to thank for helping me to see that.




18 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Bomb That Didn’t Detonate.

  1. oh amanda. this made me cry…thank you. so powerful. i’m so glad it didn’t go off. I have so much guilt too. why do i get handed so many things in life and others get so many things taken away? I drive like a moron, i’m so selfish, i spend too much time on the internet, I lie, overspend, make selfish decisions and think mostly of myself and somehow things always work out in my favor and all of these amazing people lose people. I have guilt. ugh. but thank you for sharing so honestly. love you.

  2. Gratitude is huge….and you are very lucky. No need for guilt – just go forward in life with an abundance of Love, Faith, and Gratitude …. and be happy, just because you can be. Cherish your child, and mourn silently for the others. There is no shame in living; there is only shame when we forget to live while living. Blessings to you for all days to come.

  3. Wow, just wow. I suppose the one silver lining of this was that it reminded so many of us to be grateful. It’s good to hear a happy ending story come out of this.

  4. Amanda, this made me bawl my eyes out. I am so grateful for that undetonated (may have made that word up?) bomb, even more so after having read such a personal encounter with it. Thank you for sharing this story on JD’s Honest Voices link-up. I feel honored to have stumbled up on this. Hugs to you and yours!

    1. Thank you – I had to detour from the usual content of my blog because I couldn’t really think about anything else. Hugs to you, and thanks for reading!!

  5. That day in Boston certainly gave so many of us a new perspective on life. Gratitude and anger. Interesting how both can be felt simultaneously. Beautiful post and grateful that you and your family are safe. Stopped by from BPB.

  6. It was a really empowering think to read your story for I can sence how grateful and upset you’re at the same time. How easily our lives can be shattered in a matter of seconds, how we can loose people we love and cherish. And I’m also angry at that, when someone decisions impact on me, my family and friends. I’m just content now that all is over and your family is safe.

    PS I have taken time to re-read some of your past posts and I can see we share a quite similar past, a job in the same field and the love to empower other people. Hugs from Melbourne 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I love that, through this blog, I can connect to similarly-minded people like you 🙂 Have a great day!

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