I’ve been grieving for three days. There’s so much wrong with a President-elect Trump that it’s hard to even start writing about it. Feels like the only thing that I can contribute to the conversation that hasn’t already been covered by better writers and thinkers is my own story.
We live a few blocks from the intersection of President and Clinton streets in Brooklyn. A few folks from the neighborhood organized a party there on election night. The cops blocked off the street. Two food trucks showed up. Hundreds of neighbors came out to experience history together.
I got home from work a little before 7:30pm. Emma typically goes to bed around then, but Rachel and I kept her up past her bedtime so that we could go to the party.
While we were yet a block away, I heard Wolf Blitzer say something about “Florida and North Carolina,” followed by a roar of the crowd. I thought it was over. I thought that they had called those two states. I started to cry. I didn’t expect that. But here I was holding my daughter’s hand as she walked towards a crowd celebrating the first female President.
Emma’s not yet two. She doesn’t understand. But I told her anyway. I told her that she could be anything she wanted to be. I told her that we were about to elect a woman to be our President. I told her that she had run against a man who was very, very mean to women. But that America had rejected him.
I was premature.
We put Emma down around 9pm. When we finally went to bed after midnight, we opened her door and stared at her for a good few minutes. I wanted so much to hold her. To protect her.
I didn’t sleep much that night. Emma hasn’t been sleeping well either lately, but I’ve never been so happy for her to show up at our bedside at 5am.
“May I have a snuggle?”, I asked.
There was no real point in trying to go back to sleep. We played in her room. Went for another walk. Ate breakfast. And then I had to leave for the airport. I travel a quite a bit for work, but don’t think I’ve ever wanted to leave less.
A friend staying nearby had a flight at the same time, so we shared a ride and talked about it for two hours. Talked about the importance of getting involved and serving locally. Talked about the need to be a force for change to counteract the badness that’s soon to come down from up on high.
I felt a little bit better. Something about voicing fear makes it loosen a little bit of its grip.
I got on the plane and recognized the guy sitting next to me. A fellow developer, he too was off to RubyConf in Cincinnati. A Brit, he had just moved to NYC, had gone through Brexit, and was more knowledgeable about our political process than I am after 36 years of living here. He dropped knowledge on me for two hours.
I felt a little bit better.
And that’s basically been the plan for the last three days: talking to folks about it. Slacking with coworkers. Emailing old friends. Striking up conversations with strangers. Calling Rachel every few hours. Processing and working through this together.
The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I’m still angry. It feels unfair, as a white man with a good job, to move onto bargaining too quickly, for bargaining is a luxury the folks most affected by Trump won’t have.
I’ll see Rachel and Emma again in two days, just in time for her second birthday. I hope to be less angry then.