My grandmother died on the last day of August. I was sitting at Tayari’s dinner table, drinking wine and eating pound cake and ice cream when I got the call that something was wrong. Deep down, I knew she was gone but I pushed it aside and asked for another piece of cake. I wanted to enjoy the peace and calm for a few more minutes, while I still could.
I’ve spent most of this month struggling to be productive. It’s hard to care about entertainment and culture, even when you’re passionate about it, when your favorite person is gone.
Even in my moments of intense grief, I still struggle with allowing myself to be unproductive. I’m currently working on a project that’s more personal (and, thus, more challenging) than the work I typically do. My colleague, Floyd, calls it “heart work.” It’s been hard to do this work when my heart is broken.
The reality, though, is if I want to continue to see the people I report on in their full humanity, I have to first see myself. I’m not entitled to rest just because I get migraines or because my grandmother died. Hardships are not what entitle me to rest.
It is, simply, our birthright as a human beings.