I Have Felt Like This Before

Last night, I lay awake for hours trying to will my heart to stop thumping scarily and erratically. Trying to tame my breath into regularity. Recalling every relaxation technique I’ve ever learned. None of it worked. My body shook.

The unthinkable was happening. My children, ages eighteen and twenty-one, who had been so excited about voting, were both dismayed. I didn’t know what to say to them. I’m sorry your adult lives are beginning this way. It’s not what I wanted for you. My husband and I watched the markets plunged, seeing a future without retirement and without safety nets. We kept asking how this could be. How could so many Americans vote for someone endorsed by the KKK?

An existential fear suffused my being. It felt like the end of everything. I tried to remember when I had ever felt so terrified, so horrible. And the memories surfaced. A handful of times, events in my life had evoked this kind of emotional response for me:

  • The Oklahoma City bombing
  • 9-11
  • Sitting in a hospital while an ultrasound technician ran a wand over the bump on my son’s head and said “I want to check with the radiologist about getting a CT scan of this.”
  • The day my mother died.

I suppose I went on after all of those happenings. I suppose I will go on now. I’m already making plans about how I personally can counteract some of the negatives I expect.

But my feelings have not caught up with my head. This morning I argued with the weather forecaster when he said Today will be sunny. NO IT WON’T I yelled.

For today, this is my soundtrack: 

 

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