Sunday, February 25, 2018

Not loving February -- Jen Doktorski

I struggled to come up with something to write about this month. So much so, that this post is very late. I’m sorry about that. I really am. It’s just that me and February don’t exactly get along. If February and I ever dated, we would have broken up long ago.
The funny thing is I owe a lot to February in terms of my own origin story. My mom and grandfather were born on the same day, which also happens to be my grandparents’ anniversary. (I admire my grandfather’s optimism is choosing to marry on his birthday!)

But more so than not February has always been a month of loss for me. A month I just want to get through. Those same grandparents both passed away in February. I lost my childhood dog, MacDuff in February, and when I was nine, a girl in my neighborhood was struck and killed by a car in February on one of those unseasonably warm days that lured us all outdoors. It was the first time I’d ever experienced a loss of any kind and I remember being so confused by how deeply I was affected by the tragedy. I cried every day and asked my mom for frequent updates while my neighbor remained on life support in the hospital. She wasn’t a good friend. I barely knew her despite the proximity of her house to ours. But she was two years older and that’s a world away when you’re nine. And so I felt guilty about my grief. I felt I had absolutely no right to feel sad when her parents, siblings, and everyone she was close to was suffering so much more. My pain was transient, theirs was permanent, and I felt horrible and hypocritical, though I had no way to articulate or express those feelings then except with more tears.
It’s the same way I felt on Valentine’s Day when 17 people lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida at the hands of a crazed gunman in possession of a weapon, a human killing machine, that shouldn’t be sold to anyone under any circumstances in a civilized society. Those teachers, students, and staff showed up for what they thought was an ordinary day of school and wound up in a war instead.

We watched again as politicians did nothing and those who were elected by some people to lead this great nation of ours, had the audacity (or perhaps lack of intelligence) to propose that armed teachers could have prevented this massacre. If that was the best they could do it was time for me to get my passport updated.

But then something remarkable happened. A strong, determined, articulate group of teens stood up and shouted the words our so-called leaders were too afraid and corrupt to utter – Never. Again.

They give me hope for February. They give me hope for the future. I will follow those kids wherever they want to lead me. Their parents should be very proud. We all should be.


  1. I'm with you, Jen, and with them.

    1. Thanks, Jody. :) I'm going to try to get to D.C. on March 24th.

  2. Same here. I am in such awe by these teens. Fierce! They've made me decide to bring voter reg forms with me when I speak. (Or at least, a link to their state's website.)

  3. You've had some seriously rough Februaries! But they give me hope, too.