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A Recount

It’s been a tough few years all around. 

So it seems appropriate (if unfortunate) that the last of this quarter of this four-year election cycle would be so defined by a crescendo of lies and deception that makes the previous three years of lies and deception cower in deference. 

The plague riddling the world and the cult of the orange cur came together in an alliance with guns drawn and mouths and noses uncovered to say “fuck you” to everyone and everything, spreading both the filth that coats their minds and one that might kill your grandma if she has the audacity to breathe in the presence of the maskless. 

Those engaging in rational thought were due for a victory and we were ready to claim it.

The election was strange though for those of us who voted by mail. The pageantry of physically walking up to the voting booth of election day was neutered by an admittedly mundane vote-by-mail process. 

I’m not disappointed I didn’t vote in person, but I kind of expected more from the experience. 

This is perhaps not a flaw in the system as much as one in my own expectations. By November 3, I was already done. 

All that was left was for “those people” to do their thing; and I, for one, was confident that they were outnumbered. I went through my day of remote working anticipating an outcome that I soon realized was probably not going to come that evening, but rather weeks later. 

And yet I hoped for something else. I’ve never been one for delayed gratification. I want it now!

At around 5:30 PM–just a couple of hours before the polls would start closing in many places–I received a call telling me that my sister, Michelle, was missing after an emergency trip to the hospital that had resulted in a transfer. 

I spent the next several hours not watching poll counts and projections, but calling hospitals and begging for information from people who’d rather let someone die alone in a hospital bed than break HIPAA rules. 

Eventually, I learned that my sister was inpatient in an ICU with kidney and respiratory failure. I didn’t even have any clue that she’d been sick. But there she was. 

To add insult to injury, the team treating her had desperately been trying to reach someone as they had no next of kin information–even as the original treaters were denying me information. 

Over the course of the next few weeks, what started as a hope that this was a reversible scare turned into a realization that it was something much worse. I wasn’t ready for this. She wasn’t ready for this. This wasn’t supposed to happen. 

As her reliance on a ventilator increased, there was something in the doctors’ voices each time they asked me for consent to treat that suggested that the happy movie ending I’d initially anticipated was in fact a red herring I’d deboned, broiled, and served to myself. 

At around 9:30 AM on December 4, 2020, Michelle experienced a cardiac event that her body was unable to recover from, and she died. 

In the aftermath of all this, I was heartened by the love that my sister spread out into her community as her friends and extended family reached out and supported us. I was humbled and gracious for all they had done.

And I was bitter and angry at the cards my sister was dealt. She’d endured too much in her life for it to just be ended so callously and abruptly. 

I demand a recount.

3 responses to “A Recount”

  1. Avatar McKnight says:

    Heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to lose a sibling. My sincere condolences.

    I feel like we’ve collectively hit rock bottom in the past year and I’m hoping there’s only one way to go from here.

  2. Avatar llxtm says:

    Matty–first of all, I’m SO sorry. And in awe of your courage to write about this…to even be making a connection like this so soon.

    My word of the year in 2020 was Anger and I have a newfound appreciation for its place in our range of emotions. I’m still figuring it out but this situation speaks to me, particularly, of a “right” to be angry.

  3. fent11111 fent11111 says:

    Damn Matty. So sorry…

    Perspective is so important in present times, and reading that brought me right back to base.

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January 2021
What We've Learned