This week, like too many others in the past few years, I have been in stunned grief. My heart is broken. Not for me personally, but for us as a whole. I have say here for over an hour trying to write something meaningful, Trying to craft a response, a suggestion, something helpful. But really all I want to do is cry. I want to say, “This is not right”, for so many reasons. I want to wail and protest and I want to blame. I want to sidestep the pain this all too familiar outrage brings up in me.
So here I am. Right here. Right now. And I can see how I am thinking, not consciously a minute ago but consciously now, righteous anger will feel better than this pain. Removed intellectualizing about this will feel better than this pain. Problem-solving and politicizing will feel better than this pain. Compartmentalizing it into another historical mark on the timeline of human violence will feel better than this pain.
But I need to feel this pain. I need to feel this pain to keep myself fully in my humanity. Right here, right now. I need to breathe it in and not sidestep it. Don’t jump ahead; there is action to take later. Now, feel this pain. Look at the pictures of the murdered, young people will lives ahead of them. People that I might have loved had I met them.
Don’t diminish this grief. It is not the grief of the people who knew them. That is a much harsher and personal grief, I know. Think about the thousands of grieving friends and family members who don’t know how to face today without the person they loved. Imagine how it is to know your loved one died afraid. Let yourself feel this pain, let your heart break for them. Don’t turn away.
Right here, right now, watch how you get angry. How your mind goes to Why? and How? and Whose fault is this? and What the fuck is wrong with us?!! Feel that. Don’t shy away. Breathe it in. Feel it. Don’t shy away.
Let the tears come. Let them be helpless, hopeless, frightened, devastated, angry, sad, empty. Take this time. Grieve. Be human.
At this moment, this is what I can do. I can be strong enough to recognize that I need to grieve to stay a part of this human community. I cannot send these feelings underground, where they will hide and I can pretend that we can go on as usual. I owe us all that much. Right here, right now, feel this pain. Don’t shy away. Breathe it in. Feel it. Feel it. Don’t turn away. Stay human.