The instinct to cocoon after such a traumatic event is understandable, according to Dr. Stuart Goldman, a psychiatrist at Children’s Hospital Boston. But he predicts that the sadness or insecurity will pass.
“There’s a temporary sense of unreality. Like, did that really just happen? People are trying to figure out the impact on the city and on their lives,” Goldman said. “People will be more mindful and cautious, but over the coming weeks and months, that decays and life returns to normal.”
That sense of sadness is even keeping some of Boston’s most seasoned party mavens out of circulation. Marilyn Riseman, a fixture on the social circuit in Boston who is out and about several nights a week, has decided to set aside her stack of invitations. She was at a party at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel just a few hours before the bombings, and Riseman is still shaken.
“I’ve postponed every single thing I had,” said Riseman, still spry at 85. “To be honest with you, I can usually jump back from most things, but I really haven’t jumped back from this. It’s almost a feeling of, like, leave me alone, don’t invite me, I don’t want to go out.”
This is the busy season for party planner Bryan Rafanelli, whose company organizes annual spring fund-raisers for some of the city’s largest nonprofit groups. If Rafanelli has anything to say about it — and he does — the tragic events of last week will be acknowledged at every one of those events.
“This is not over for a lot of people,” he said. “As someone who advises my clients, we need to create a place during these events to acknowledge the victims and the first responders. It’s incredibly important. It’s about the character of the organizations.”
Rafanelli handled the arrangements for the Huntington Theatre Company’s spring gala, which was held at the Castle this week. As soon as the 500 guests were seated, the Huntington’s managing director, Michael Maso, made it clear that the theater company was not oblivious to the city’s pain.
“Our job is to bring people together to celebrate our common humanity,” he said. “Tonight we celebrate this value with passion and commitment and artistry, and joy. . . . By coming here tonight, you are celebrating the strength and resilience of this great city.”