Friday, June 19, 2015

A Love Letter to Charleston



The past 48hrs have been such a numbing experience in the fact that personally I’m dealing with two deaths that happened in the same night – and it may be weird to group a national tragedy that happens right in your own backyard and the passing of a pet into the same category – but its’ still death, and grief, and personal emotions.

Walking down King St. last night I kept looking around watching people.  I paid my respects at the AME Church and met up with friends who had just come from the service.  It’s a media circus with trucks all around, cameras lighting up the streets.  I saw so many familiar faces on the street and we all said hello and hugged – reminding me how small this city feels, but all in a good way.
I met up with my friend Jared, who happened to be out that evening and we had drinks at the local hipster-y bar where we had a conversation about how this was all affecting us and how we’ve both been in cities/places that we love and how they have somehow had major tragic events.  I was a sophomore in Boston when 9/11 broke.  A junior during that whole DC sniper craziness that swept the nation.  Once again my association with Boston during the Marathon bombing and now Charleston.  I told him how I thought it was weird that people were milling around the streets – couples taking selfies, out to dinner laughing, people out partying, and all I wanted to do was to shout at them saying “Don’t you know what just happened!??!”  But we sat and talked and processed things together in that moment which was very comforting.

Here’s what I’m starting to learn – that when things like this happen, when grief comes to you in whatever form – the best thing to do is just talk about it – surrounding yourself with people who you care about and feel connected again instead of retreating.  It reminds you of being part of something bigger, that community feeling.  And then somehow, eventually, you move on.  Actually I don’t like the term moving on because it has a connotation of putting things to the side or forgetting.  Rather, I like the term moving forward. 

So we continued thru the night - celebrating and toasting to life.  And while yes, there is still grief and processing time, at least we were able to not feel numb and start to live again with more appreciation, more love, more connection to humanity – because we shouldn’t let someone or something take that away from us.

It’s been comforting that friends from afar have been emailing/messaging/texting me through this process or sharing news stories that have been touching their hearts or communal outrage – the message of assurance that things will be okay and the faith they that we’ll bound together finding strength in rebuilding.  We learn. We take action. We make things better.

I will always remember the happiness that a pet brings to you, the comfort of the loud purr, a bedside companion, or the laughter they bring from being just a silly pet.

And I love this city because of the beauty that lays in the scenery, the spirit, the life, and the people.  That will never be taken away and it will only grow stronger in time.

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