The Day After

November 15th, 2016 by Dr. Nina Asher

I am shell shocked, in a daze. The unthinkable has happened and it screams out ignorance and hatred. My heart is aching; sadness washes over, seeps inside every pore.

This is not a simple loss.
I am grieving for us all.

I feel like I did the day the World Trade Center was attacked.
9/11; today, 11/9
Then, like now, there was no way to make sense of what happened, but I know we are experiencing something that we cannot process, yet.

My father died on 11/11, 17 years ago. He was a leftist, a cynic of “the system,” but he had a kind, loving heart. What would he have made of this atrocity? In times like this, he often said, “It has to get worse before it gets better.” And yet, today, those words hold little comfort.

Does everything that gets worse always get better?
Is that the natural cycle of things?
What is the new normal?

Yesterday the unthinkable happened. It feels like what it must be like to have received a terminal diagnosis.
We all know we will die but somehow we don’t really believe it, even though it happens to everyone, time and after time. We know death spares no one, but we keep it at arm’s length, perhaps as a way to keep living.

Death is a part of life.
But is ignorance? Is hatred?

Yesterday, this country voted for ignorance and hatred.

My daughter, now 30, worked on both of Obama’s campaigns, and Kerry’s before that. That first decade of her adulthood taught her history; it brought out her passion for justice. Her grandfather would have been proud.

She was hopeful yesterday, until she wasn’t.

I see her heart breaking as her world turns upside down, and I can’t reassure her. I have no way to understand this. My head is pounding, my ears ringing. I am terrified. A part of me shuts down, a dull ache in my heart, in the pit of my stomach. A sharp bullet wakes me up.

Today, through tears, my daughter said, “I guess I have taken the bubble I live in for granted. Maybe I need to be more grateful.”
To which I respond, “Bubbles exist to remind us that we are in this together, holding each other. They are protective but we also need to see outside our bubbles because the truth of how things lives in both places.”

I say these words – I want to believe them now, and protect her. So why do I feel so afraid, and alone, vulnerable and fragile? How can something so awful bully itself upon us as if this is the way it was meant to be?

Up is down and down is up.
We do our normal things so as to stay steady, but right now, nothing feels real, except grief.