On April 15, 2013 Celeste and Sydney Corcoran, mother and daughter, attended the Boston Marathon to cheer on Celeste’s sister, Carmen Acabbo. A beautiful Patriot’s Day in Boston to celebrate the human spirit of runners.
As everyone know that day turned tragic. Sydney and Celeste were both seriously injured. Celeste lost both of her legs and Sydney had her femoral artery severed by shrapnel. Father and husband, Nick Corcoran tended to his wife and hoped that someone had found his daughter and was caring for her. Both women should have died. Both were saved by the quick thinking of a caretaker. One by her spouse and one by a stranger.
But this isn’t a post about tragedy. Its a post about one statement that Celeste Corcoran made to her sister, Carmen Acabbo, while recovering in the hospital. A woman who had just had both legs amputated due to a senseless crime says to her sister the runner that she was sorry and disappointed that she didn’t get to see her finish. That is the triumph of the human spirit.
As runners, we know what it means to us to complete races, especially the marathon distance. We really can’t grasp what it means to nonrunners to see runners triumph against the marathon distance. I am reminded of the quote by Marianne Williamson, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” That is the liberation that Celeste and Sydney Corcoran were seeking on that warm, spring day along Boylston Street.
In his speech upon winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, William Faulkner said, “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”
Celeste Corcoran chose to prevail! Amercans will prevail!
Today I run for Celeste Corcoran.