My family and I were coming down to NYC to visit my dad in hospice care. I was awoken by a phone call from my brother. Both of us still half asleep, he broke the news to me. My dad had been battling cancer for the past couple of years and finally succumbed some time during the night. I was fortunate enough to have had come down a couple of weeks earlier when my dad insisted that we have a birthday party for me and my brother. We both have April birthdays.
As we finished packing for the trip down, and after I broke the news to my wife and two sons, I began to read the reports of the gun and bomb battle that took place also during the night in Cambridge between law enforcement and the bombing suspects. After an already tense week following the Monday bombings this news did not sit well.
As we made our way down I-95, I took to social media only to find post after post from friends in the Cambridge and Watertown areas writing about hearing gunshots, explosions, and posting photos of SWAT teams outside their homes. In between checking posts I drifted back to thoughts of my dad and of my mom who apparently was also fighting off high blood pressure and a bout of vertigo.
We get to NYC, check into our hotel and make our way to my parents' house in lower Manhattan.
Later that evening as my mom cues up a vacation video of when my parents went to Hawaii, a quick flash of the news flickered and I read the words, "Suspect captured alive." I felt a sudden sense of relief and gratitude and then an instant later I was watching footage my dad shot of Hawaii. Meanwhile I can hear cars honking horns and the occasional celebratory yelp. They're celebrating in NYC too.
So as I sit here typing this, now just past midnight and technically the next day, I can only take a deep breath and look back at April 19, 2013 with the strangest sense of sadness, sentimentality, and elation. Thank you Boston and I love you Papa.