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Study Hall: ‘How Do I Keep Doing This Work When I Can’t Safely Grieve?’

I’ve recently had to move in with my parents to help support them financially as my mom was recently put on long-term disability. It was the hardest decision to make.

They are white, right-wing, and along with the list of -isms that go along with that, I’ve recently realized the extent of their Zionism. My dad is an active vessel of hatred, spreading Fox News rhetoric, and forbidding any “political talk” in the house. My mom is passive and insists on turning a blind eye to any number of atrocities for the sake of her health. I’ve had a few semi-substantial conversations with her about Palestine since Oct 7. Every time as soon as I’m about to get through to her, my dad barges in to scream about how we don’t discuss politics or defend terrorists in this house.

Now that I’m essentially stuck living here since I can’t afford to pay for rent and support them financially, I don’t know how to handle this. I don’t want to create strife, and especially with my mom’s health, I’ve used up all of my coping mechanisms to walk on eggshells around my dad so as not to cause her additional stress. I don’t know what to do. I am boycotting, making calls, and posting on socials to spread awareness, but in my own home, I can’t even safely grieve much less educate. How do we get through this?

This sounds really difficult, dear reader, and I’m sending you so much love. I know that many of you reading this are, in some way, navigating difficult conversations during this time. There’s so much loss in conflict on a major and minor scale, and as we grapple with the Israeli and Palestinian lives lost and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people, we’re also navigating the loss of former friends, colleagues and spaces we once held dear. It only compounds the grief and heartbreak and makes liberation and freedom seem more burdensome than anything.

Care is essential in these times, too. It is okay to take space to gather and resource yourself. I recommend finding groups you can join to process the emotional weight of what’s happening. There’s a lovely upcoming event that might bring you some comfort:

Joy in the time of Apocalypse: On Boundaries

Sunday, November 19, 4 pm CST

Cosmic communion to uplift practices that aid us in navigating these apocalyptic times with boundaries rooted in love and collective care, with adrienne marie brown, Jessica Lanyadoo, and Sonya Renee Taylor. RSVP >

And I wouldn’t lose hope. You’re not alone. I know so many of us are giving voice to a much broader movement toward liberation and justice, and we might not see things change from our actions. But it doesn’t mean that we aren’t making a difference. Hang in there—you’re not alone.

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