In the midst of my climate despair, my sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When she died three months later something inside me cracked. I was all grief. I couldn’t take another climate step.
I wanted to wrap that young girl in my arms, hold her tight against so much uncertainty and destruction. But there was nothing I could think to say to soothe her soul, nothing that wasn’t a lie.
I’m resigning. I don’t want to be a climate change warrior anymore. I’m inclined to blame my change of heart on my sister’s death. It would be easy enough to do.
It was quiet in my growing up house. We closed the front door with silent deliberation and spoke to one another in soft tones. My parents didn’t raise their voices, either in anger or delight. We kept our feelings of fear, grief, sadness, even joy, corseted close, as if their release would tip the earth from her axis. Tears happened in muffled sobs in the corner of a bedroom. There was no room for anger.
I sat on the edge of my bed, too hot to move, and cursed the yipping dog across the street. I cursed the sirens, the leaf blowers, the loud man on his cell and the incendiary news of the day. I wanted to throw rocks and bash people over the head with pillows. I hated the city, the heat, my neighbors and even my friends. I needed the Great Out Doors, and I needed her fast.