“I literally ran for my life,” Lawler said.
There she saw one of many who had lost their legs in the explosion.
“That’s when I freaked out,” Lawler said.
While awaiting transport to Faulkner Hospital, a man held her hand, assuring her that she’d be all right. When she asked him for a hug, the man obliged, hugging her for minutes.
“All I kept saying was ‘why were they doing this to us,’” Lawler said.
At the Jamaica Plain hospital, Lawler underwent the first of two operations. The first was to remove shrapnel from her leg and stabilize the wound. A second operation closed the roughly 9-inch wound and inserted a drainage tube to remove excess liquid.
Six days after the bombing, April 20, Lawler left the hospital and returned to her parents’ home in Amesbury. Save for the temporary use of a cane, one couldn’t tell that Lawler was injured. In fact, Lawler and her parents, Maryellen and Arthur, said she will feel no ill effects of the wound after it heals.
But according to her parents and herself, most of the damage done was inflicted emotionally.
But the resilient and spunky Lawler said she was determined not to think too much about why the bombers did what they did, but rather look at the positives, such as the overwhelming support she has received from her family, the community and people she hardly knows. Since the bombing, Lawler has received get-well cards from past teachers, members of both the Newburyport and Amesbury communities and messages from complete strangers.
“First of all is to say ‘thank-you’ to everyone who has been so supportive. It’s just been amazing, the support of the community,” Lawler said.
Her philosophy of staying positive even in the face of such senseless terror is summed up well by the large tattoo on her left forearm. “Learn from the past; live in the present; create the future,” her tattoo reads.