Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bust Through and Bloom

It's been three years since the Boston Marathon bombing wreaked havoc on the lives of many. The incident occurred about two years after the publication of The Running Dream, where the life of Jessica, the main character, is changed forever when her leg is crushed in a bad accident and has to be amputated. I spent two years researching, writing, interviewing, submerging. For so many reasons, I wanted to get the details right.

And then the Boston bombing happened. I wanted so badly to help, knowing that their lives would be a struggle both in physical recovery, but also in finding a life beyond the nightmare and injustice. I wrote about it in the post Why I Keep Wearing the Same Three Outfits.

It's one thing to write a story about a character who has the strength to endure the agonies of a cruel twist of fate, it's another to watch real people do so. Not personally knowing any of the victims, I could only follow via social media or the news...from afar. And then there was the remarkable connection I wrote about in It's a Small World After All, where one of the bombing victims turned out to be the daughter of a bookseller I met on my very first book tour.

And that connection drove home another horrible facet: Imagine being the mom.

I tear up just thinking about it.

But then imagine witnessing your daughter not just survive, but develop a determination to walk again, dance again, life a full life again...and then somehow bloom in ways you could not even have dreamed of.

I try to track all the victims, but the two I want to spotlight today are Heather Abbott, who has done guest speaker assemblies at schools who have used The Running Dream as an all-school read, and Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who's mom is the bookseller I mentioned. Both have found ways to bust through their circumstances and bloom.

Heather now helps provide others with specialized prostheses. You can read about her and her love of stilettos (really!) in this People Magazine article.

You might have seen Adrianne on Dancing with the Stars, or on Anderson Cooper, but this Monday please root her on as she takes to the streets of Boston to run the marathon. (There's a news program about her here.) She's running in association with the Limbs for Life foundation to which you can donate if you are so inclined.

I know people who have become bitter and miserable because of things much less life-altering than what the innocent bystanders at the Boston marathon were hit with. Adrianne and Heather show us that there's a choice you make in your heart when faced with the cruel things life may throw at you. Are you going to give in to the unfairness of it? Let it destroy you? Or are you going to bust through and bloom?

What you have to go through to move on may seem impossible, impractical, or totally unfair, but it's really the only option for a happy life.

Find a way. Bust through and bloom.

Thanks for checking in. I look forward to meeting up with you in the comments. Meanwhile, Go Runners! #BostonStrong


MarqueeMovies said...

Beautifully written. I love that you're reinforcing the idea that bad events - and bad people - do not have the power to determine our outlook on life (unless we give them that power). We have the strength (or can find the strength) to choose how to face every obstacle. I would never presume to speak for anyone else's situation and/or pain - but it is a great reminder to myself to appreciate every blessing of every day. The more we choose to embrace our blessings, the more of them there seem to be. Great post!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

"The more we choose to embrace our blessings, the more of them there seem to be. " That is so true! Thanks for reading, thanks for the wonderful comment. Here's to counting blessings.

Robin said...

Oh wow. Thank you for sharing these stories. I'm tearing up as I type. I'd come to your blog looking for contact information because my daughter just read THE RUNNING DREAM (it's been chosen for Battle of the Books in North Carolina for the 2016-2017 school year) and she has talked about it nonstop, so I'm going to read it for the Sporty Girl Books blog I contribute to and was going to see if you'd be willing to answer a few questions for the blog post. It's a beautiful thing that this post is the one I stumbled upon. I'll be reading and following Adrianne and Heather from now on.

Thank you for your work and your stories. We're huge fans of FLIPPED (we like the book more than the movie:) ) and I'm excited to read THE RUNNING DREAM. I come from a family of runners and grew up doing fun runs and cheering on my old siblings at their meets and then joining them once I entered middle school.

I love the reality that we do choose how we react in every situation. Here's to busting through and blooming!