When Grief Looks Like Protests

June 4, 2020

I can’t sleep. The sirens are loud. They are noticeable. They are constant. As everyone else in my house rests. My head spins. In fear, in confusion, in heartbreak.

The world is usually quiet at this hour. Tonight it’s a mixture of emotions, chaos, and emergency vehicles flashing by. On a typical night, we might hear one, maybe.

Tonight I count as they come.
One, after the other, after the other.
Two in the last two minutes.

Soon, it becomes 3, then 4, then 5. I am full of sorrow as I lose count. I know what these noises mean. They mean the protests are no longer peaceful. They mean with each minute, things grow further and further out of control.

This isn’t a show. This isn’t a movie. This is my city. It’s real life. It’s terrifying and incomprehensible. It’s messy and problematic.

As a tear slides down my cheek, I gain perspective. This is trauma. This is grief. This is loss.

This destruction, in its truth, at its core, is really just deep emotion and ache that has been displaced for too long. It’s hearts acting out in rage from loss. From lives taken, and lives that continue to be taken.

I lost my mother in 2017 and I also lost hope and faith and love, and the ability to see past the pain. That is what this is. People in pain. People who are grieving lives lost in ways that are unjust and inhumane. People grieving lives lost, that didn’t have to be. Lives stolen.

These lives weren’t taken by cancer or disease or accident. These lives were taken by people.

So, tonight as I try to comprehend the noise and chaos, I will pause and pray and remember, that while I am deep in my grief journey, they aren’t. This grief is raw and exposed and awake.

This grief is difficult and complicated. This grief is more than the loss of life. It’s the loss of respect and equality and peace and justice.

Its noticeable. It’s powerful. It’s consuming.

And now that it is, maybe we can do something with it.
Productively.
Peacefully.
Purposefully.

Society needs to be healed. It needs to be rescued. It needs to wrapped in compassion and saved from hate. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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