Home » Uncategorized » our trauma. our vast national grief.

our trauma. our vast national grief.

I just finished watching the national memorial service for our Covid dead, arranged by President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. I thought it was important to participate because through all of this, we have never collectively been allowed to mourn the grave injury that we are all suffering. In fact, half of the country is actively denying the injury, trying to gaslight us into believing there is not in fact this gaping hole in the nation and in our hearts where nearly half a million of our friends, co-workers, and loved ones were just a year ago.

That our incoming president felt the necessity of acknowledging the ache of this national wound — simply, humbly, without bravado, but with solemn sincerity — and inviting all of us to join him briefly in sharing the burden of that grief before turning toward the celebration of his inauguration, is so decent. So human. So normal. Almost as soon as the service began, I started sobbing uncontrollably for the stark contrast between this decency and the grotesque inhumanity of the monster who has been subjecting all of us to the whims of his diseased psyche for the past five years.

Now that the destructive T**** regime is coming to an end and the weight is beginning to lift, I’m starting to realize just how constantly triggering it has been as an abuse survivor to live under the national thumb of an abuser whose name and face and relentless indignities have been centered so prominently in the daily business of our lives. Having escaped abuse before, I know that the period after you get free is when you collapse under the weight of everything you’ve been carrying for so long. It’s no surprise that I would find myself suddenly heaving with sobs just because an average Joe and his Vice President addressed the nation for a few quiet minutes to recognize the collective trauma we’ve been unable to process because it is ongoing. Because it is in dispute by those who would gaslight us and traumatize is further. Because we’re supposed to be focusing on going to our jobs and doing our work and “supporting the economy.” Because to truly admit to the vastness of this loss, this grief, would mean having to admit that we are in real trouble and it is our neighbors, friends, and family who got us here by uncritically swallowing the lies of a sociopath.

This grief, this vast national grief, is too big for any one of us to bear. As I watched the memorial lights serenely reflect into the pool of the National Mall while our incoming leaders joined us in a moment of silence, it hit home that we don’t have to bear it alone anymore.

It’s going to be a while before I’m okay. Trauma does a number on you in so many ways, and you never know how it’ll pop back up or when. If you’re also not okay, that’s fine. We’re all in this together and we’ve all been through a lot.

But for now, it’s good to be reminded that it’s possible to expect and see decency in our leaders. The last administration was a four-year stress dream. Let’s wake up, wash off the funk, and remember that no matter what our abuser tried to tell us, we do all have inherent worth, there are people who love us and want us to succeed, and selfish cruelty is not normal or tolerable.

There’s humanity in the White House again.

5 thoughts on “our trauma. our vast national grief.

  1. I’m glad they did this. A friend of mine who was watching it on livestream somewhere said that the right-wing troll comments slowed down and disappeared pretty quickly — hopefully Biden / Harris have the capacity to unite (most of) us again.

    To the trauma question: It’s not quite like your experience, but it’s not been lost on me that many of DJT’s behaviors are very similar to symptoms of dementia, nor have I failed to notice that there’s a metaphorical significance to the rule of the country by a disaffected, elderly white man and his supporters, and certain aspects of my own situation. I agree — we’re going to need an opportunity for political (and other) detoxing.

    • I think it will eventually come out that DJT has been deteriorating from Frontotemporal Dementia for the last several years. For the entire world to be held hostage to such a person, who was already a monster to begin with, as his mind unravels has been just… God, there are no words to convey the damage. It must have been unfuckingreal to watch all of this play out from the perspective of someone intimately familiar with the signs and the potential harm.

      It’s going to be a while before we can process all of this.

  2. As much as I’m glad Trump lost, I’m really doubtful that a Biden/Harris governance will make a marked improvement in poor and low-income Americans’ quality of life, however much the pair might try. And I have a hard time imagining anything resembling ‘Obamacare’ coming back.

    Those doubting the powerful persuasion of huge business interests need to consider how governing officials can feel crippled by implicit or explicit corporate threats to transfer or eliminate jobs and capital investment, thus economic stability, all of which is being made even worse by a blaring news-media naturally critical of the government.

    Also concerning is that corporate representatives actually write bills for our governing representatives to vote for and have implemented, typically word for word, supposedly to save the elected officials their time.

    • I certainly do not believe that a Biden/Harris administration automatically heals all of our hurts by its mere existence. We were in trouble before 2016, obviously. But this post isn’t about that. I’m not trying to crow that everything is wonderful now.

      I think of it like this.

      We’re bleeding to death. We need to get into emergency surgery and hope our surgeons are competent and the damage isn’t already fatal. But until the 20th, we were being held hostage by a sociopath who had torn out the phone lines and wouldn’t let us go for help because he enjoyed watching us die.

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