I just spent the last four days in Vermont performing a critical task that I will not be writing about right now. Perhaps someday I will find a way to write about it, but not now. It’s too raw. What I want to write about is you. Boston is where I flew in and out of in order to perform my most important task.
The last time I was in Boston was almost twenty years ago. It was the fall of 2001. I think it was less than a month after the 9/11 attack in New York City, which was a pivotal moment in my life. That’s for sure. That day changed the course of my life.
I’ve already written a bit about my 9/11 experience on Stuck in my Bra and I’m not really thinking about that so much, except that it was actually the only reason I ended up in Boston in September 2001. The truth is if I hadn’t been in Boston that weekend I’m not positive that I would be a mother. I take that back. I don’t believe that I would have been the same mother. I wouldn’t have the same kids. I guess I’ll never really know for sure if that’s true, but that’s what I believe. Nonetheless, I am grateful that I have these three beautiful human beings in my life and for that reason Boston holds a very special place in my mind and my heart. It reminds me of my kids who hold my heart together.
I spent the last 24 hours in Boston and I am now on a flight back home to Denver. Admittedly, I spent most of the last 24 hours barely holding it together. Like I said, my task was painful. I would have had a difficult time containing my tears and my sobs if I wasn’t alone, so I’m glad that I was alone even though I know that the people who care about me wish I wasn’t. The truth is that I have a difficult time expressing my feelings and letting it out full throttle would have been too difficult for me if I was with anyone else. It’s a lot for people to handle. They want to make all the pain just go away. That’s impossible.
My human design is to hold it together and hold it in even when it’s not good for me. I’m working on that all the time, but I am grateful that I was alone this time so that I could let it all out when the feeling came up. I am also grateful to have so many people who love me and care about my wellbeing. I am grateful to have parents who worry about me. I know how much my mom worries. We share the white hair worry gene and hers went white a long, long time ago worrying about me. I am grateful for my husband who worries for me. He loves and takes care of all of our kids even though my three aren’t legally his responsibility. Jason is a godsend.
Anyway, Boston in September 2001. The reason that I was in Boston is because my boyfriend at that time had been relocated temporarily for his job. He worked on Wall Street. Technically, his office was located in the World Financial Center on 9/11 and Lehman Brothers (which is the company that he worked for at the time) wasted no time relocating him so that they could keep their money machine operating. My boyfriend’s life at that time was all about money. That’s the name of the game on Wall Street. Money money money. More money money money. There are people who believe that money makes the world go around. I’m thankful that I am not one of those people. Go ahead, call me foolish. I stopped caring what people think about me a long time ago. Call me whatever you want. I know what’s important to me and that’s all that matters.
My boyfriend and I were shacked up in Brooklyn at the time and I had stayed back. I don’t remember ever considering going to Boston with him at that time. I also don’t remember if he ever asked me to, but I don’t think he ever did. It’s been so long that I can’t actually remember what I was thinking or feeling about him going to Boston, but what my mind tells me now is that I was probably relieved that he was going and I was also emotionally numb. It’s a fair conclusion given that I was mostly emotionally numb back then and I had also just been shell shocked by 9/11. I also know that at that time I had put my law school loans on hold to save up money so that I could afford to move myself back to Colorado. I had registered to take the Colorado Bar Exam even though I was already licensed to practice law in New York and was doing well. I had decided that I didn’t want to live in New York City any longer. I couldn’t afford to live there on my public servant wages and I didn’t want to get stuck. Stuck is the worst. So at that time I was mentally preparing myself to break off our relationship. I couldn’t see a future that I wanted with him.
What I realize now is that I have always been resistant to people who focus their life decisions on money. Unfortunately, working on Wall Street had made that my boyfriend’s focus and I was repelled. Silently and subconsciously repelled, but repelled nonetheless. It was making me sick to my stomach so I knew I had to free myself from this relationship with a man who I cared about deeply. I loved him and I was also repelled by him. My gut is always right.
I think that the reason I went out to visit him when he was in Boston was because he invited me out for a weekend with one of his client/friend’s family who had a vacation home on Nantucket. I think it was Nantucket? I can’t even be sure now exactly where it was, but that’s why I took the train to Boston that weekend. His client and their family were really nice people from Milwaukee and I enjoyed spending time with them. I knew my boyfriend did, too, and that’s when we were at our best together. When we were enjoying ourselves with other people. That was one thing that was enjoyable about the Wall Street life. It allowed us to touch the lifestyles of the wealthy. Some of those wealthy people were good people and they had good lives that they shared with us. For that, I was grateful. I never would have had those kinds of experiences without him. Anyway, we had a fun weekend despite the trauma we had both experienced just a few weeks before.
That is the weekend that our beautiful twins were conceived. That’s it. That’s why I love Boston.
When I was in Boston this time though I couldn’t help myself from thinking about a dear friend of mine who lived in Boston for many years. I’ve wracked my brain to think of someone else I know who lives in Boston and I can only think of him.
Josh Libby was a gem. He passed away recently and it really hit me hard. Most people probably didn’t even realize we were close, but he was special to me. We had reconnected again recently and were on Facebook messenger a lot discussing life and Cued Speech history and drama. Josh was one of my favorite people. He was easy to be around. He was charming and playful and authentic and just a good all around human being. We confided in one another. I miss him a lot. He was one of my favorite deaf mentors and I have had plenty.
I first met Josh when he was the President of the National Cued Speech Association and I was just a baby board member. I had been recruited onto his board because I am the parent of a deaf native cuer like Josh and also because of my professional skillset. They knew that I could be invested in the mission and probably hoped that I would be useful. Maybe I would even fight for them. Of course I will. I don’t see it as a choice. Its my call of duty.
Now my deaf child is grown. She is a deaf leader. She has always been my deaf leader. Whether anyone else recognizes that fact or not, I don’t really care. It’s the truth. That is what I learned by knowing Josh and other people like him. That is what I have learned from my own kids. That is what I’ve learned as a person who has sometimes become disabled myself. The truth is if we don’t take the lead we may not survive in this audist and ableist world.
Here’s the truth about me.
I am repelled by greed. I get fired up by discrimination in all of its forms. I really do love Boston. I love my family the most. And I always choose love. I don’t see any way through this life if I didn’t because I believe that it is love and not money that makes the world go around.