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Reporting from Boston: City recovers from terror, bombings and shoot outs

Digital First reporter Jennifer Swift shot this still while I was shooting video in the media frenzy surrounding Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley. This was taken after Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Sunday, April 21, 2013. Photo by Jennifer Swift

It wasn’t until Dorchester resident John Spadaccini started crying that I really understood why I was reporting in Boston.

I had just filmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley speak at Sunday morning Mass, and now I was collecting comments from parishioners. We were standing outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, and I thought the chill in the wind was making Spadaccini’s words end short.

After I lowered my video camera, the well-spoken, composed man broke. His face fell exhausted. His eyes couldn’t hold back the emotion any longer.

And, I saw it. While the T-shirt vendor from the day before had told me that Bostionians are able to contain their emotion, I saw it.

A tribute to lives lost in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross Sunday, April 21, 2013. Photo by Ashley May

It was confusion after a celebrated marathon turned to bombs, terror, blood and lost limbs. It was the gut-wrenching feeling that horrible things can happen too close to home. It was sadness that an 8-year-old boy was killed after hugging his dad. It was the fact that this week was one he would never forget for all the wrong reasons. It was the realization that Friday was just as terrifying as Monday. It was the shock that a terrorist attack happened.

It was an exhausted body reacting the only way it knew how.

I had come to Boston to take comments and share news — but most importantly, be a vessel of comfort, an ear to those who needed to share their stories and a reliable source of information to lean on.