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Today. A fox ran through my yard. A yard. I have a yard. While drinking coffee I saw a fox.

March. My supervisor at a hospital on lower Manhattan told me I could not come in until further notice, it was protective. I felt protected. She told my patients, I wasn’t to call them, for legal reasons. My patients, the people who let me witness a resilience and trauma exclusive to poverty. And we tried so hard for them, with them, together, and then we were separated. They said they were used to it.

May. My husband and I left New York. I was 8 months pregnant. No goodbyes. Not even distanced waves. We saw our chance and took off. I left my patients without telling them I will not be returning to the hospital (but we can still talk on the phone). Will they ever realize just how incredible they are? Do they know how much they inspire me? How much of telling them that is about my own shit? They know. They know. They have to know. 

Election night. A friend watches my son some evenings while I work. Arriving home I asked her how she was. Having recently immigrated from Guyana with a young son this was her first election night in the US. She shrugged and asked if the outcome would really affect me. Well, yes. But. It would in a way that none of the privilege I’ve grown accustomed to would be gained or lost as a result. Then I winced. Because she had so much more on the line. I feel ashamed for that. I have the privilege of being ashamed of being an American and nothing will happen. This is not right.

Saturday morning. Eating egg sandwiches on Main Street, a text came through, then horns beeping and people cheering. The world sighed. The sun came out. Was it already out? Maybe. But I didn’t notice. I noticed that people were smiling under masks, their cheeks poking up from the tops, and crying on the street. Strangers recognized one another as humans, looked each other in the eye. Talked. My previous patients will, for the next four years, be safe from the terror of turning on their televisions, hearing how the highest elected official does not care about them. And then I cried. My son’s earliest memories of the most powerful people in this country will include many who do not look like him. And I felt hope.

4 responses to “Memories”

  1. Avatar McKnight says:

    As the year progressed, I found myself following more and more cute animal accounts on Twitter to dilute the news, here’s one that shows pictures of foxes: https://twitter.com/the_dailyfox

  2. Avatar llxtm says:

    I knew McKnight was going to bring up baby animal videos!!!

    as I read through your post and all the rest here, I’m buoyed by the hope that pervades the despair. As parents, we have to hope right? Nevertheless, I’m glad you recorded it for posterity.

  3. emmyem emmyem says:

    Llxtm…we do have the right to hope. Everyone has the right to hope. It does not diminish the sadness and difficulty but does help not suffocate us in devastation.

    In therapy, I all but force my clients to identify how and what, when we change behavior or thinking, we will replace or make room for new. Doesn’t ensure beneficial change but certainly helps along the process.

  4. emmyem emmyem says:

    YEEEESSSS!!! Bring in the cute animals to help balance out the shitstorm of news.

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January 2021
What We've Learned