This past Thursday was the night of the Boston Strong concert which raised funds for The One Fund. The day of the show was one of those days where I had no concept of what time it was at any point because of all the moving and shaking (read: work) that needed to be done. My body was definitely doing tasks without my brain giving it instructions. Cue intense appreciation for those on production teams putting together shows all year long.
Occasionally, I was able to stick my head up out of the haze long enough to eat a stray chunk of bread or to realize I was walking down a hallway behind a man with highlights in his hair and bootcut jeans. Oh, and also the rest of his bandmates in Aerosmith.
Once doors opened, the haze disintegrated as Ellen and I greeted and handed tickets to survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Those moments I will never forget. The distance between me and seeing those people through the television screen had shortened. It is so very grounding and real and so very aching to the heart. At the same time, it was incredible to see them present in such a public space, ready to have a good time and bare their strength for everyone to see.
I believe each and every survivor, first responder, and helping hand in attendance stayed for the duration of the show. A small group of us were there to assist and make sure they felt safe. We watched as Donnie Wahlberg jumped off the stage while still singing to sit with a young woman for a few bars. We watched as Steven Tyler gave another his sunglasses. She told me she’d never take them off. We watched as a boyfriend picked up his girlfriend who could not stand and twirled her in circles with her arms wrapped around his neck as Carole King and James Taylor cast a dreamy musical spell over the audience. We watched as Joe Andruzzi finished speaking on stage and immediately exited to the floor to spend the rest of his evening sitting with, talking to, and taking pictures with each person. We watched as artist after artist looked to the survivors and dedicated their performances in their honor.
A night like this doesn’t even nick the surface of fading the tragedy forced on these people but perhaps it gave respite for a few hours—a humble contribution to the healing.