One Year Later

Washington, D.C. – Nov. 8, 2017


I was here in Washington, D.C., when I found out. This was the epicenter of the earthquake, the unexpected tremor that sent me reeling.

I remember the shouting and confusion. The looks on people’s faces. I remember the tears that seemingly came from nowhere but must have been bubbling just below the surface.

I can’t say it was entirely a surprise. I saw it coming; we all did. The signs were there, hiding in plain sight — but like most painful things, we refuse to accept the truth until it’s too late.

It doesn’t feel like a year; it feels like yesterday. It feels like a blink. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it really happened.

This year has been a cancer. A festering tumor that grew unbated, barely held in check with alcohol and professional distractions. Many times I felt it was getting better, or that it at least couldn’t get any worse — but then there it was again, rearing its ugly head and filling me with anger, remorse, and melancholy resignation.

How do you move on? How do you pick up the pieces and start over? How do you, as the prayer says, accept the things you cannot change?

I know now. One year later, one year to the day, here in the place where it happened, I finally understand how to move forward.

It’s what she would have wanted me to do.

So for her, I will always remember that one year ago, I was here, right here in Washington, D.C., when I found out.

I will remember the text from my sister telling me that our mom had died. I will remember getting in an Uber and finding my daughter on F Street, on her way from her freshman dorm to the White House to protest, and telling her the tragic news.

I will remember the shouting and confusion as we both tried to make sense of it. I will remember the looks on people’s faces around us, the images of my daughter’s college friends holding and consoling her. I will remember the tears and the restless night making funeral plans across three time zones, and my daughter finally getting to sleep at my hotel as I left before dawn to fly back home.

Yes, there was an election that night too. Yes, it was a pretty big deal. But that’s not what I think about when I think about Nov. 8, 2016.

I think about my mom. I will always think about my mom.

But I will no longer dwell on it. I will not let the cancer grow. I will move forward for my family’s sake and for mine.

One year later, I’m ready to move on. But never will I forget.



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