BOSTON (AP) — As this shocked city observed a moment of silence, Heather Abbott was following through on a difficult decision — allowing doctors to amputate her left foot, which was mangled in the bombings that shattered the Boston Marathon.
From her bed at Brigham and Women's Hospital on Monday, the 38-year-old Rhode Island woman reflected on the terror of April 15 — and on the waves of agony and grace that followed in the week since.
"I'm trying to be positive about things," she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview before her surgery. "And hope that my life doesn't have to change much."
The day of the bombings, Abbott and a half-dozen friends took in the traditional Patriots' Day Red Sox game at Fenway Park. They left early and headed to Forum, where a friend tends bar and where former New England Patriots were gathered to raise money for offensive guard Joe Andruzzi's cancer foundation.
The restaurant is at 755 Boylston Street, not far from the marathon's finish line.
Abbott was at the back of the long line, waiting as bouncers checked ID's, when the first blast went off. Unlike many, she knew exactly what it was.
"I felt like I was watching the footage on 9/11," said Abbott, who works in human resources for Raytheon Company in Portsmouth, R.I.
Abbott was scrambling to get off the sidewalk when the force of a second blast blew her through the restaurant doorway.
After she'd regained her senses, she tried to stand, but her left foot felt "as if it were on fire." Unable to find her friends in the smoke and confusion, she called out to the panicked crowd.
"Somebody, please help me," Abbott shouted as people scrambled for the rear exits, not knowing whether there were more explosions to come. She'd begun to give up hope when a woman walked up and began dragging her toward the door, quietly reciting a Catholic prayer as she tugged.