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April 17, 2013

Lisa Rizzo: 'Dazed and confused'

PEABODY — Sitting in the bleachers directly across from Monday’s Marathon bomb blast, Lisa Rizzo of Peabody “crunched down” until the smoke began to clear. Then she fled, believing she’d escaped unhurt.

By yesterday, she wasn’t so sure.

“It hit me this morning,” she said. “I’m trying to muddle through. I couldn’t sleep last night, I’ll admit it.” She described herself as “dazed and confused.”

She avoided the gruesome sights in the aftermath of the explosion, the severed limbs and blood. “I didn’t see people on the ground because it was so smoky,” she explained. But she saw some of that later in photos. Nor could she shake the thought that she could easily have been across the street, where so many were killed or mutilated.

Rizzo had been waiting for her husband, Gerry, a former Peabody city councilor, to finish the race. He was just about a half-mile away when the blast went off and wasn’t allowed to reach the finish line. Instead, he had some tense moments encountering spotty cellphone service as he tried to reach his wife.

“He was a nervous wreck,” she said. “He knew I was standing at the finish line.”

He couldn’t have reached Lisa in any case. She discovered only after she reached their room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza that at some point she’d dropped her cellphone. “It’s sitting out there somewhere on Boylston Street.”

Of the explosion, she said, “It was a like a cannon.” None of the shrapnel reached her, but the concussion did. “I just felt the impact. ... You could see all the smoke billowing. The impact was just shocking.”

While some steps have been taken to offer counseling to survivors of the blast, Rizzo said it’s unlikely she will avail herself of any such option.

“I worked this morning,” said Rizzo, who is a physical trainer. “Someone asked me, ‘Are you sure you want to work?’ Well, what am I going to do? Sit and think about it?”

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