MUSKEGON, Mich. – For Ruth Holden, hearing her daughter was going to run in the Boston Marathon meant a chance to watch the grand kids at home in Muskegon.
But a phone call from Holden’s husband changed those feelings in a moment.
“He said there have been a couple of explosions and I said, ‘Oh you are just pulling my leg,'” she said.
When she picked up her six-year-old granddaughter, Logan, from school, “I didn’t want to let her know what was going on.”
After getting word of the explosion, the TV at Holden’s home was kept off for the benefit of Logan and her three-year-old grandson.
For Holden, turning off her thoughts of her daughter in Boston was harder. “Because of the kids,” said Holden, “You don’t let yourself go there.”
Thousands were in the same position, trying to get word to loved ones, wondering if they are okay.
Holden’s daughter, Amorette Clausen, said she tried desperately to get word to her mother. “We couldn’t get through,” she said. “The phones didn’t seem to be working.”
Clausen was not hurt in the blasts, but she said she wasn’t completely unscathed either. “I feel scared,” she said. “I felt it on the way back to the hotel, how suddenly you never thought of it, and now you have all this fear: ‘Is the building next to me going to blow up?'”
When the bombs went off, Clausen said, it took awhile to wrap her head around what happened.
“We started to see people running towards us in the opposite direction we were going, with these panicked looks on their faces. Women were crying.”
Clausen and her husband got in their car and started the two-day trip back to her family, overwhelmed by what they were a part of and how others have responded.
“People care,” said Holden. “There were so many people who said, ‘We are praying for you.’ And I don’t see how people can do it when they don’t have the small town unit, that connection.”