I sit in front of the laptop. I talked to two friends and cannot get to Cheshire via text or phone. I scroll through Facebook, watching who sends sad emojis to me and sending my own sad emojis to as many friends as I can who posted the sad news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death tonight.
I found a live coverage in front of the Supreme Court building. People milling about. Lighting, holding and leaving candles. Talking. Every so often it almost seems like singing will begin but so far, no songs. Two people are holding pride flags, a few guys on bikes join the crowd, a few dogs bark. There is applause now and then, as if someone had come out or said something, but there is nothing to hear. Really, nothing is happening. It is sad. It is a wake. Respectful. I would like to be there. And I watch.
I remember my parents watching JFK’s wake and funeral. It seemed to be on the television for days. They seemed to stare without looking. When my mother finally let me go outside, she told me sternly not to play. I walked up to Maryann DeMarco’s house at the end of the street and asked her to come out. We did not play. We walked from her house to mine and back again and back again. We said words to each other that I do not remember. We understood nothing. We were scared children.
I remember when Regan was shot. A man I never liked but to shoot a president scared me deep inside. I was walking down the street —-
Now, on Youtube some jerk shouts into a bullhorn that this is a “good day” for the United States because trump will put a good man on the court. The mood in the crowd abruptly changes. He is shouted down. A chant arises: RBG, RBG. It drowns out the bullhorn. Does the bullhorn have a death wish? Can’t he let the crowd have one night to mourn? Every time the bullhorn starts in, the chanting drowns him out again. The bullhorn speaker does for the crowd in front of the Supreme Court building what trump has done to this country.
I could be sad for Regan the day he was shot. No liberal shouted, I hope he dies. These—what are they? ugly conservatives, fascists, is this the best of the republicans? His president will be proud of him. Another funeral he will not attend.
The day Regan was shot I was walking down some Avenue in NYC with headphones on, music in my ears. Breaking news interrupted the music and I stopped right in front of a guy. I looked up at him and said, “The President was shot.” Then we stood and I relayed to him what I was hearing. And then, we parted.
I remember September 11th when the buildings came down, and to be honest, this is not that. No one has been cut down in their prime, no one has even unexpectedly died. This is the death of an 87 year old woman who has battled cancer for a very long time. And I don’t know for sure if she was holding on to her Supreme Court seat in the hope of a trump defeat, but lots of us liberal, freedom loving people, hoped and prayed she could hold out for a President Biden. I’d like to believe she was trying her darnedest. She certainly appeared to be persistent and obstinate enough to do whatever she could to help those she would be leaving behind.
2020 seems to be never ending but Rosh Hashanah began tonight ushering in 5780. I was ready for a new year, a time of apples and honey and the beginning of the days of awe, introspection and even atonement. And now this death. Someone posted that according to Jewish wisdom, only the most righteous, a tzaddik, die on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the very tail end of the old year. In their year to pass, they were given as much of it as possible.
Yes. Indeed. Yes. Her memory will be a blessing for generations.