It has been a week - eight days - since I learned my friend Tricia was raped and murdered on Christmas Day.
In this time, I estimate that I've spent 10% of every waking hour reading memorials on Facebook, investigation updates on The Washington Post, and trolling the comment boards on myriad other news sources that carried the story of her death. I've become increasingly upset with every new detail exposed by the police and with every heart-felt memorial posted on myriad "In Memory Of" pages online,
On day four of this obsessive grief odyssey, I cried, cried harder than I have in a long time. On days five through seven, I gained three pounds, largely as result of my settling into the enveloping stupor of Candy Crush Saga.
And today, on day eight, I met with a therapist.
And about five minutes into our session, she gave me a swift kick in the gut. I was blathering on about how vulnerable I was feeling about my personal safety and she said, "I wonder if your reaction to your friend's death might be about more than your friend's death."
"Whatever could you mean?" I innocently replied.
"Well, there are many Americans feeling vulnerable right now. How are you feeling about the direction in which our country is moving?"
Dammit. Dammit Dammit.
During my brief period of grieving, it has seemed as if my sadness has been out of proportion to my relationship with Tricia. I've felt like I don't have the right to be as immobilized by this terrifying act of violence as I have been.
But, if I think about Tricia's murder as the most terrible straw that broke the camel's back, then this reaction makes a little more sense.
What also makes sense is leveraging this process of grieving her death to find my inner strength.