Eight Stages of Grieving

 

1. Confusion: I woke up to my partner in a way I haven’t ever woken up to him before. We briefly touched hands. We were mostly silent. I held back tears as we read social media posts from our friends, some of which made me laugh. I was thankful not a single post was blighted with hate. I’ve picked my friends well.

2. Sorrow: I made coffee like I do every morning and for the first time admired the red French press purchased for me by my father, the handmade mug given as a Christmas present from a cousin. I noticed the fridge covered in postcards from family and friends. Then I stepped into the shower, curled up onto the floor of the bathtub, and cried until I felt like I was going to throw up.

3. Community: I sent and received numerous texts and emails from friends and family while we collectively tried to understand what exactly happened and how we were going to cope.

4. Compassion: I emailed my students and asked them not to bring politics into my classroom tonight. I am too exhausted and afraid. I reminded them of the following: No matter what your political beliefs may be, remember to be the change you want to see in the world, through your words and through your actions. Constantly strive to be better today than you were yesterday. Read as many books as you can. Surround yourself with knowledge, incredible friendships, good food, and wild places. When talking with others, listen for the sake of understanding that person, not for the sake of responding. Take time to figure out your own ethics, your values, your morals.

I’m letting them out early to call someone they care about.

5. Apathy: In the environmental studies building, a group of students stood huddled in a corner, hugging one another, some of them crying. Some of us gathered around a computer to watch Hillary’s concession speech and to watch Obama address the nation.

In class, everyone looked like zombies and we all thought the same thought: what now will become of our planet?

6. Rage: My friends, peers, professors, are decidedly torn on how to handle this. Many of them asked us to carry on as normal, not to be dramatic. I believe it is dramatic not to spend at least one day mourning. Today I will lament the loss of intelligence, science, fact, logic, reasoning, humility, compassion, grace, and nature. Tomorrow, I will plan. Tomorrow I will think about civil disobedience. I will think about activism. I will ponder sacred rage. I will consider democracy and whether or not majority rule is ethically right.

7. Acceptance: I will surround myself with like minded people. I no longer feel the need to be inclusive of those who fill themselves with hate and ignorance, in the same way I wouldn’t keep a friend who supported slavery or the holocaust simply to preserve “diverse opinions.” We are not being inclusive by covering both sides. Instead we are signaling to the public that hate deserves and has equal consideration in our society.

8. Action: I will go to the mountains and look out on all that there is left to do. I will not give up. I will use this as motivation. My community will use this as ammunition. The ripples are already in motion. We will not stand for the blatant and rampant destruction of our earth and our humanity under the hands of this monster.

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