I wasn't going to share this publicly. I was going to write it in my journal and tuck it away (until next time), but at the last minute I decided against it. I'm hoping maybe I can help someone else process the grief that so many of us are feeling at the events of the past couple days. Did I know them personally? No, I didn't, but in their faces, I see my uncles, brothers, cousins, nephews, friends, and med I grew up with. When I look in their faces I'm reminded that it could just as easily have been someone I love. So when I heard the news of Alton Sterlings murder it hit me hard. Oh but it was the press conference with his wife, hearing his 15 year old son wailing at the loss of his father, that pushed me over into grief. There are no words adequate to describe the degree to which I am TIRED of this scenario. I'm tired of feeling like it's open season at black people, especially black me. I'm tired of weeping. I'm tired of seeing good people vilified in order to perpetuate racist stereotypes. I'm tired of "RIPs" and hashtags, administrative leave and show trials, acquittals and injustice... Yes, I'm tired, but I'm just beginning to realize that with each incident I am re-traumatized and I experience grief.
After losing my dad in 2010, following a struggle with dementia, I know a thing or two about grief. I know that it's not a single or one-time event. I know that there is no "get over it" date. I know that it strikes when you least expect it and manifests in ways that may or may not involve tears. I know that it can be triggered by the most random things. So, when I felt the tears coming yesterday as Mr. Sterling's son was crying, I knew what what happening. My heart was heavy as I climbed into bed and my mind was racing.
I may have mentioned this before, but I don't usually dream when I sleep, I just sleep. Sounds strange, I know, but evidently I'm just that tired when my head hits the pillow. There are exceptions of course but they usually involve nightmares. Last night was one of those nights. I dreamt that I was pulled over by a police officer for something he never did specify. In the dream I was so nervous because of recent events that I was shaking. The officer was trying to reassure me, but I was inconsolable. The fear was so real that I woke up out of sorts. When I turned on the news I heard about Philando Castile's murder and I just started shaking. The grief of the previous day was compounded and I was finding it hard to breathe. I could barely get myself together. In fact I cried for most of the ride to work. I saw a few police cars en route and my heart quickened each time. I wasn't doing anything, but I've seen that that doesn't matter... I was still somewhat shaky by the time I got to work.
I say all this to say - if you find yourself being overcome with emotions, tears, anger frustration, hopelessness, etc., give yourself permission to grieve, and take as long as you need to do it. Your grief is real, it's legitimate and it is justified. Each incident is a blow to the psyche, and on some level that may be the intent, but that's another post for another time... maybe. In the mean time it's ok to feel what you feel. Be gentle with yourself. Self care is an important part of the grieving process. I found this blog post is helpful.
Take care and be safe y'all