It’s the morning after, and I haven’t even cried yet about the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg – and I’m a crier. When I’m upset, stressed, frustrated, excited, proud. If I think about sad things, watch certain scenes in movies –or even sentimental TV commercials— I cry. I’ve been known to audibly sob in a theater once or twice. So, my tear ducts are loose.
But, there’s been a change in me this year. A sense of survival. There is no rock bottom to 2020; the hits have – and will – keep coming. I am armored up to survive each day, a day that bleeds into a week, melting into months. We have to care for ourselves and those who share our homes, rely on virtual communication to provide value in our jobs (since we’re lucky to have them), and support our friends and family that we haven’t seen or hugged in months. The little things can’t make me cry anymore because I’d be crying all day. It only happens in the quiet hours when it all becomes too much.
Justice Ginsberg represented dignity. (A word that feels foreign for government these days.) She was the best one of us. I remember watching her documentary – which happened to be the first outing of my all-female “Fine Arts Club” – and being in awe of her composure. I was most shocked by her ability to not get riled up, and calmly present the facts with clear delivery. I’ve never had a calm temperament, especially in the face of discrimination and misogyny. So many of us women think, “what would RBG do?” in unjust situations – calling to her to bring us her calm, fact-based approach to our problem.
The progress she made for women is unparalleled. Justice Ginsberg leveraged the law to overturn gender discrimination injustices that feel so logical now, and that are reflected in the quality of our every day lives. I feel lucky to have been alive during her time and that I will be able to talk about her, to provide witness to her accomplishments as the kids around me grow.
I just don’t know how to process this loss, this latest blow to our year. Its something many of us feared as we anxiously tracked her health updates, praying that she stays on the bench through 2020. These past few months had to have been a challenge for her. Yet hospitalizations and cancer scares didn’t slow her down.
She stayed a leader on the Supreme Court, and she did it for us. The responsibility had to have been heavy, but she knew she was an ideal, a movement, and that we needed her. Her presence calmed us in these uncertain times. Everything would be okay if Justice Ginsberg was around. She will uphold the dignity of our gender and an intolerance in the face of discrimination, providing calm in the chaos.
I think about how much I need her, and how she knew it. My screen blurs — the tears finally flow.