I can recall three times in my life where I went to bed and was afraid to wake up the next morning. September 6th 2012, February 22nd 2016, and November 8th 2016. There have been a few other days when I went to bed anxious, or scared, or just sad. But these three days are unique in that I can remember every single detail of each night. I can recall lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, praying, begging that when I wake up the next morning, everything would be normal. I can recall almost word for word the prayers I mouthed over and over again on each of these three nights. I didn’t sleep much and I didn’t sleep well. I woke up far too early the next morning, earlier than I needed too. And, for a moment, I just lay there, a small part of my brain still pretending that nothing had changed.
But it had. On September 7th, I woke up without a mom. And on February 23rd, I woke up without a cousin. And on November 9th, I woke up without any sense of security, or safety, or trust. All of these feelings accompany a great loss, and personal tragedies aside, November 7th felt like the greatest loss of my life. It didn’t help that everyone around me seemed to feel the same. And it’s difficult to explain, especially to people you know don’t want to listen. But the thing is, the truly heartbreaking part of the election wasn’t that Hillary lost. It was that Trump won.
Of course I voted for Hillary, and of course I wanted her to win as much as all of her other supporters. And, like so many, others, I was so sure she would. Because I was positive that the majority of Americans would not support a man who had a blatant disregard for the care and well-being of so many Americans; a man who had no respect for so many of my friends, my family, and me. I couldn’t imagine that happening. But it did. And the shock that accompanied such a great loss just made it hurt all the more.
I’m a bit of an expert: I’ve lost a lot. Tuesday felt bigger because so many people shared in it. But, I think President Obama put it best when he told us that the sun will still rise tomorrow. No matter how many times I’ve lain in my bed, praying for morning not to come, praying for everything to be a dream, the sun still rose. And it has done so, every morning since the first time I asked it not to after my mom died. I didn’t know what to do that morning. I thought life would just stop, but it didn’t. I thought I’d never be okay, but I am.
So I don’t know what to make of the fact that Donald Trump is going be the President of the United States or the fact that half of Americans actually wanted him to be, just like I still haven’t made sense of why I lost my mom or why my cousin took his own life. I can only hope that things will be okay. And although my future feels more uncertain than ever, I know that the sun will rise tomorrow. And the next day, and the next. Tomorrow comes whether we want it to or not, and I think that’s always for the best. Where would I be if I’d let my losses stop me? I don’t know, but I know that our losses aren’t what define us; it’s what we learn from them.