Grief has taught me a thing or two about living with loss. It takes many forms and appears in unexpected ways that sometimes feel the same as the death of a loved one.
I’ve been experiencing this kind of grief since the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This may seem odd coming from a gay man, but I’ve been depressed since I heard. I not only feel hopelessly sad for women who’ve lost the legal right to control their own bodies, but selfishly, I’m heartbroken because a few of my own rights will probably be taken away soon.
Watching the news, familiar talking heads tell me that it’s only a matter of time before contraception, gay marriage, and even what I do in the privacy of my bedroom will be illegal. I find myself simultaneously trying to deny these realities and suddenly having trouble catching my breath.
I wasn’t sure why at first until I figured out that, for the first time in my life, I’m living in fear. I’m terrified that my four-year marriage to the husband I loved for twenty-two years will be as if it never was and that Marty and I will never be able to marry. I’m grieving the possibility of these losses.
Even more disturbing and sinister, I’m beginning to fear the loss of safety. I used to live in a world where I could go out my door in the company of the man I loved and not worry about being in danger simply because of who we were. I’m haunted by scenarios where Marty and I are harassed by someone who feels emboldened by the latest supreme court decision when we’re out shopping or having dinner at a local restaurant.
Why am I panicking? I wonder. Nothing has actually happened yet. But then I have to ask myself, why am I still afraid?