soldier on

In bed with him again, spooning, my arm draped across his little waist as I feel his chest rise and fall in peaceful rhythm. Moments earlier, his heart was racing as if to jump clear from his ribs, his brain lightly seizing.

My son is innocent and pure, knows nothing of the ugliness in this world, and yet he seems to feel its pain. Perhaps he channels its miserable convulsions. Still, somehow, he perseveres, he soldiers on.

As I clutch him, feel his smooth skin, smell his hair and breath, I feel blessed. Lying awake at four a.m. again, my thoughts wander to the mothers I know who’ve lost their children—Lidia, Cornelia, Susan, Christine, Debbie, Emily, Chris, Anna Karen, Betty, Kari, another Debbie, and Ilene—and as I mourn their losses, I feel a universe of gratitude for the chance to be embracing mine, though I wish I could end his malaise.

In the dim room, my mind shifts to others who lost a son. I think of Ghazala and Khizr Khan, the Gold Star parents of Captain Humayun Khan who was killed in the Iraq war, all decent, loving Muslim Americans who came to this country for a better life, then paid the ultimate price. The image of the solemn couple speaking at the Democratic convention challenging a repugnant Trump is seared into my mind—their sorrow, the the weight of having buried their child evident in their faces.

And as if their loss wasn't enough, the callous twerp who calls himself a man, who aims to be the next to lead this nation, rather than showing empathy, cowardly knifes at their open wounds for his own selfish gain and satisfaction.

I am not one to embrace hate, but I believe this growing loathsomeness in my heart is evidence that I may detest at least one: the manchild Donald Trump. In my lifetime I can think of few worse offenders. He has called Mexicans rapists. He associates all good Muslims with terrorism. He has endorsed the killing of innocents. He revels in the notion of torture. He has slandered nearly every race of people. He belittles and offends women and has been accused of rape. He says perverted things about his own daughter. He berates the grieving parents of a fallen American soldier. He mocks the disabled. Threatens any challenger. Incites violence. I’ve no doubt he feels serious contempt even for his own supporters. He’s a sorry excuse for a human. A petulant toddler. A coward. A wimp. He has no grasp of geography or history or geopolitical forces at play. He appears to care for nothing and nobody but himself. He’s a grade school bully. A charade of a man. A liar. A fool. A swindler. A fraud. A cad.

I truly believe that this lowlife possesses zero humanity. How can someone so crass and senseless, so hateful and contemptuous, so obscene, so ignorant and yet conceited, who threatens every liberty, be asked to lead a nation?

As I hold my son, my heart weeps for the Khan family. I embrace the couple in my thoughts, surround them with colorful, sparkling, virtual blankets of solidarity, love and admiration. I lift them above the fray of angry men, some of them no more than petulant children. Sunlight begins to creep around the blinds, and though my little sleeping bird—who gives me faith in most people’s better nature—has no voice, there is a morning chorus out there of those who do. So, for our children and other decent, loving, compassionate people, we must soldier on and defeat this miscreant who has an appetite for scorning the very people and things that make up our good nation.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan remembering their son, Captain Humayun Khan


  1. what a beautiful expression of decency and humanity! thank you for putting into words all the feelings swimming inside me!

  2. Eloquent, incisive and most important, the objective truth. Thank you.