Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sleepless in New Jersey

It is 4 AM as I write this and while it may be my normal waking hour, it is not yours. But over the past 10 nights you have not slept well.
We are slowly absorbing our new reality. Like me, you cope by reading less of the news, poring over less of the expert ruminations. You don't have the mental stamina to listen to the pundits analyze what our world looks like today and suggest what it is likely to look like tomorrow.  It has all felt a little like responding to some terrible personal tragedy, maybe even like the death of a member of the family. And you don't want someone else directing your grief.
I received a number of worried calls in the days immediately following the darkest night in our collective memory. The "are you OK" with its implicit warning not to give up. You did too.
But our brains work in mysterious ways, fighting hard to make the worst appear less so with each passing hour. It is our essential coping mechanism permitting us to function, informing us not to dwell too long or too hard on our deepest hurt or our worst fears. It instructs us that the sun will rise tomorrow, that the stars will shine in the night sky, that our hearts still beat, even if they occasionally appear to stop for just a moment.
A friend called me yesterday and said she noticed that we all appear to be recovering, as if we had a virus that was now slowly dissipating.
Soon you and I will turn again to that writer who seems to have an understanding we trust, to that learned person who is consistently observant and astute. We will allow our pain to diminish even as it will not disappear.
We have stopped our crying and soon we will start to laugh again, will become reacquainted with our petty annoyances and find some of our old joys. We will  recapture our lives.
And while we will never trust what we read or hear in quite the same way, will never be as we were before November 8 when, for a moment or two it felt as if the earth had stopped moving, as if time had lost its meaning, as if reason and logic had been rendered without purpose, while we will never be quite as sure nor quite as sure footed, we will survive.
And even as I enjoy the companionship at 4 AM, I hope in the tomorrows to come you don't awaken until the first rays of daylight appear on the horizon.  Get your rest. God knows you (and I) will need it.


Anonymous said...

my son suffers from the same.
last weekend he and many friends met to brainstorm this


Anonymous said...

The question we ask after every presidential election is "Can we come together?" This time it appears "Do we want to come together?" It seems like both sides are digging their heels in rigidly. Have the two nations within our nation reached a point of permanent estrangement? Perhaps so. But we should recall America has been through 2 world wars, a great depression, violent riots and burning of our cities in the 1960's, and worst of all a civil war. Somehow, amid all the panic, I trust America will survive the Trump era (OR ERROR). Yesterday while on line at the supermarket an elderly woman asked me "Aren't you worried?" I answered her by asking "Do you think it will help?"

Anonymous said...

Definitely signs of PTSD. Any of us who lived through the 60s, let alone in Berkeley, really don’t want to do it again…yet here we are.
Sleepless in Sonoma