A giving of thanks and a mourning of lives

A giving of thanks and a mourning of lives

Just over a week ago, I was sitting at the Thanksgiving table, thinking to myself how lucky I was to be with both sides of my family for our first holiday. Due to an unexpected change in travel plans, my in-laws were able to join us at my parents’ house for the holiday. I’ve grown up in a very close family, and it’s always been extremely important to me to have that be a constant in my life.

And so I’m eternally grateful to have married someone who not only is my perfect partner but who my family treats as their own. This Thanksgiving was a series of visual reminders that I have the marriage I always hoped for. I watched my husband help my dad power-wash the garage after an untimely explosion of wood glue. I watched my parents and my husband’s parents toast to our future together as one family. I watched my grandmother put her arms around my husband and say that he was a gift to her.

Especially during the holiday season, it’s sobering to think about the families that have had those gifts stolen from them, who have experienced that ultimate loss. In the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner tragedies, I have heard some infuriating words from those who don’t understand the gravity of these killings, who deny that racism was even a factor, who simply aren’t seeing this for the deeply important historic moment that it is.

Fortunately, I have also witnessed the beauty of so many speaking out against injustice, against brutality, against the utter senselessness of these events. I have heard words that are all at once compelling, heart-breaking, intelligent, outraged, inspiring, and revolutionary. I won’t pretend that I know everything about police procedure or anything about grand juries or even that I know every last detail of these cases, because I don’t. I also won’t pretend that I can even begin to empathize with all the people who suffer for their skin, because I can’t. What I can say is that these men simply deserved to live and nothing will convince me or the courageous masses in the streets otherwise.

I want to share these words from a friend that I found particularly poignant:

I’m not really one for hashtag activism, and I don’t want to hijack a cultural conversation about race as a white dude, but I can’t help but feel compelled to add my voice to the chorus stating what is heartbreakingly simple, but maddeningly difficult for those who benefit from institutional racism (myself included) to recognize: #blacklivesmatter.
— Abraham Nowels

This was not a manifesto. This was an admission of my fear, my sorrow, my sympathy, and my hope that we can only have a better world.

Having said my piece, I’m going to go have dinner with my family. And I could not be more grateful for that.