we’re not dead yet

sunset-taconic-pic

Last night, stricken and and sickened by the election results, I stayed up into the wee hours texting and emailing people I love. I just wanted to tell them that they matter to me, that I’m grateful for them, that I’m glad they’re in my life and I love them, I love them, I love them. I blasted off of a few more of these little missives in the morning. Probably I missed a few people, as I was groggy and hurried. If so, I’m sorry. I’m glad you’re in my life. And I love you, I love you, I love you.

Saying this was all that mattered last night and this morning. It’s all that matters any night or morning. But it matters especially in the aftermath of loss, and the events of yesterday surely mark a big one for those of us longing and planning for a different outcome. When I snapped open my eyes today and remembered, I felt cuffed hard by the unreality of it, the injury to the universe and upheaval to the laws that govern it. Oh, shit, I thought. How did this happen? How will we move on?  And as I did, I recalled a similar cosmic bafflement — a sense of a world suddenly re-ordered — each time I woke after the death of a loved one.

Grief isn’t about the distant past. It’s about the absent future, the timeline disrupted, the dreams unrealized and memories not made. To bury a loved one is to bury your hopes and plans and visions. Your relationship. Your own sense of self. Your idea of life, its possibilities, its narrative. And this what 60,000,000 Americans are mourning today: our idea of a country that renounces fear and hatred in one fell swoop on one swell night, then moves boldly on.

That never happened. That future is gone. But we will move on, after a fashion. Another future will take its place, and we can’t stop trying to make it better and bend each sunset into sunrise. Life is hope and hope is work and work means getting up out of bed in the morning, not curling up under the covers and reliving our pain.

As my dad told me the day my husband died, “You’re life isn’t over.” He was right. It wasn’t. But my life had changed irrevocably, and I had to change along with it: I’m not dead yet, I told myself, quoting Monty Python. Neither is this beautiful, resilient, powerfully misguided and deeply divided country of ours. We’re not dead yet. Our life isn’t over. We’ll figure this out. But in the meantime, let’s hold other close and say I love you, I love you, I love you.

 

15 thoughts on “we’re not dead yet

  1. Powerful and perfect. Losing that future. All those young moms holding daughters while they voted. Hoping my own life would include a woman president. That I could see that before I die. The futures of friends who are Muslim or Hispanic….

  2. THANK YOU AMY!

    Marggie

    Every day love corners me somewhere and surrounds me with peace without having to look very far or very hard or do anything special

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. I agree, Amy, and only with the return of kindness, courtesy, civility and respect to one another, whether it be while posting, driving, standing in lines, dealing with food servers, the clerk at the Home Depot store…. it has to start by masses of folks demanding that these values are returned within the human race. It is NOT okay to post vile things, with vile language just because you don’t agree with that persons opinion. That’s my 2 cents worth.

  4. Dear Amy, I am “still bending”. Your words help me in my process. Thinking that now is the time to finally get that constitutional amendment disbanding the electoral college.

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