Note: I wasn’t going to write anything, initially, about the Boston Marathon thing but the world has other plans.
I didn’t find out about the bombing at the Boston Marathon until about 4:30 on Monday. I was at work and my co-worker happened to check the news. I’m not sure about when the actual blasts happen, but I can tell you that a moment of surrealism overtook me. This is the world we live in, I remember thinking to myself. This is the world in which I have borne a child into. We can expect bombings at public events and shootings in schools. Why did I have a child? I’m not sure if many of my followers are parents, but in intense moments like the learning of the blasts at the Boston Marathon as well as Sandy Hook and the Aurora shooting, your thoughts tend to focus on your children first. After that, the whole office stood around and discussing the moments we heard about 9/11 for the first time because, frankly, when something like that happens, you tend to go to your largest frame of reference and most of us are too young to remember Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the original WTC bombing in the early 90s.
After I got home from work, I found out that TH’s cousin was at the blast site. She, luckily, was unharmed. She and her friends had gotten hungry and left about fifteen minutes prior to the bombs going off. I got hit in the chest with another clump of “OMG” and the surge of adrenaline from that, which then dissipates in a flurry of, “oh, thank the gods.”Later, I sat down and did some heka for Boston, as well as the two people I know who live in the vicinity. I marveled at my own ingenuity and then was amused. I couldn’t believe I was really doing anything for Boston. I have a hate-hate relationship with the city. My friend, Jo, who lives there, constantly harps on how I must absolutely “hate her” because I won’t drive out to visit her. There are other reasons – my car won’t make it, for one – but I honestly can’t stand the idea of driving into Boston or around Boston. Every time I have, things have not ended well for me. The last time I went to Boston, on the way home, the throttle got stuck open on our shit box of a car in the middle of a blizzard. Since then, I’ve been careful to get off the Mass Pike long before I enter the area of terminal one-way streets and habitual finding oneself lost.
On my ride into work on Tuesday, I happened to catch the last half of the broadcast of the news conference at Copley Square. I only got to listen to the FBI and the ATF spout on about leads and helping out Boston’s finest. And then, it was time for the police chief of Boston to speak. His first few sentences were in league with what the previous two guys said. But then, he started talking about all the cities that have been reaching out to assist Boston. As the police chief said, they are woefully unprepared for a crime scene of this magnitude – Boston has never had to do things like this before. And cities like Chicago, LA, D.C., New York City, and Baltimore had all reached out with the intention of giving aid.
And I got choked up.
Now, I’ll admit, since having my son and since entering a religious lifestyle, I’ve found myself on a more emotional spectrum than I have in the entirety of my life. Things that wouldn’t have choked me up ten years ago produce massive amounts of tears in my eyes now. But, there was something about these cities reaching out to the capital that seriously impacted me. It got worse when he went on about all the other countries reaching out in solidarity with us. And that’s when it hit me: us. I’ve watched horrors unfold in remote parts of my country for the last two years, some events even occurred in states right nearby. But, as I’ve watched these events unfold and cried for the lost, lit candles for the dead, and said heka for the survivors, I’ve never felt as I have now. Us. As much as we western Massholes may despise the eastern ones, we are impacted just as much as they.
Someone tried to kill our home, our heart.
As I bit back tears because, you know, driving into work and sobbing wasn’t a good idea, I tried to diagnose when I began to feel so close to this state. And why would I care so much about a city that I have, on more than one occasion, professed to hate? Why does it matter?
And that’s when it hit me.
It’s because of all the damn grave-tending I’ve been doing. In connecting with people who have long since passed, many of whom forged the cities in my area, I am also connecting on an unexpected level with my home state. In grave-tending and seeing these names repeat over and over again, it’s led me to suspect that some of these people could and probably are related to the reason we have a state of Massachusetts in the first place. As I’ve found, many of them fought during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. They’re not just pioneers in this state, which is relevant to this post, but they are also pioneers in why we are the United States of America, as well as still one entire country instead of two. But above all, they are the reason I have the cities of Ludlow, Wilbraham, Springfield, Monson, East Longmeadow and the outlying areas in which to tend graves in.
Not only did these people come out west and create cities for me to call “my haunts,” but they probably did likewise out east. Or, if they didn’t specifically, then their ancestors have. And in so doing, I have somehow managed to tap in to all of that. I have somehow managed to become more enamored in my home state than I ever was. And I have somehow managed to become one of the many, many Massholes who are hurting because someone did something so heinous as this.
I hope they catch the right person who did this. And I hope that they nail them to the wall. And I hope that justice is served.
As President Obama said in a press release on Monday:
“Today is a holiday in Massachusetts, Patriot’s Day. It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. It’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition.
Boston is a tough and resilient town, so are its people.
I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city and as they do, the American people will be with them.
And so will this western Masshole.