christie
chisholm
creative

Don’t go gently

Let us talk about grief. And then let us talk about resurrection.

The day my mother died was my worst day. I have had other terrible, awful, world-shattering, heart-ripping, earth-heaving, reality-severing days, but the one day that matters is the day I lost her.

She told me I could do anything, and I believed her. She was strong, and her strength made me strong, too. Sometimes we were both so strong that we repelled like the wrong sides of magnets; but we always eventually latched, compelled by some unseen indelibility. Life without her is what I imagine life must be like for a magnet with nothing to hold onto, waiting, hoping for connection.

When you lose someone you love, someone who is central to your self, who has helped form the sinews of your world, for a long time you are broken. Your body rejects air, so you relearn how to breathe. You are asleep in a restless half-slumber. You wonder where the world went, or if it was ever really there. You ask yourself how things could have been different.

Life without her is what I imagine life must be like for a magnet with nothing to hold onto, waiting, hoping for connection.

These past few days, I have come to realize how much mother and country have in common. They both mean home.

Americans were told that on Tuesday we would elect the first female president into office. Instead, we voted for a man who has such disdain for women that he brags about assaulting them. For eight years, we have looked to a president who has been worthy of his title, who has acted with grace and dignity, who has spoken of tolerance and shown us courage, who has embraced marriage between all those who love, who has promoted unity among those who are divided. Now, we face a man who talks of building literal walls, who insults other races and condemns people for their religion, who has jilted his own employees and scammed the working poor, who slights those who served. This weekend, the KKK marched in celebration of his victory.

And you tell us this is just another election.

Across the country, we hear reports of harassment already. Young men yell at women in hijabs. One woman is beaten, another’s face slashed with glass. Overheard on the train: “Your time is up.” We see swastikas line the corridors of college campuses.

Who do you know who fears for their safety?

You speak to us now like we are children. You use the word “tantrum” when you talk of protest, as though this nation wasn’t founded on resistance. You quote the Constitution, but you seem to forget it is a document written with a mind for equality. Do you ever ask yourself why you consider it precious? Is it because of what it strives to achieve, or because of how it keeps you comfortable?

We knew that our country was fraying, but we didn’t know it was torn right in two.

How loudly would you fight to protect your home? What would you do to keep her from dying?

don't go gently
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—Christie
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