A woman died today.
She was not a perfect woman. The country she ruled was not a perfect country. Both she and the country made mistakes. She was only human, after all, and her country was only one piece of an imperfect world.
But that should be enough to give her the respect and dignity she deserves, in life and in death.
It’s only been hours since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, and yet, my social media is filled with commentary about England’s colonization efforts, their victimization of other cultures, their theft of artifacts, and the assertion that, because of this, Queen Elizabeth does not deserve to be mourned. “We have no obligation to mourn the oppressors,” read one post, and there were others, and there will be more.
My heart is breaking. Yes, for Queen Elizabeth, dear, dear Queen Elizabeth. I grieve for her family, who have lost a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother first, and a monarch second. I grieve for those who knew her as a person and not as a crown. For those friends that knew her in a way that only friends can. I grieve for a country who has lost its leader, and a Commonwealth, its figurehead and symbol of togetherness.
But I grieve for the people who are mocked and ridiculed and looked down on for mourning her, too.
My heart is breaking, seeing people’s anger and bitterness come out only after she has passed.; do they think they are brave for speaking up now that she is dead? I cannot understand how people can blame one woman for the mistakes of one country which she did not commit herself but were passed down to her from generations before. Why are people unable to give others the space to mourn a beloved woman and leader, simply because they disagree with her views or beliefs?
Is there no reverence for the dead anymore?
I am not asking you to agree with Queen Elizabeth, England, with each event of her 70-year reign or with those that came before her.
But I am asking you, imploring you, to give others—friends, family, governments, countries—the space and the time and the respect to mourn their loss, heal their hearts the best they can, and figure out a new way forward.
We are only human after all.
Queen Elizabeth has touched my life in a way I can’t articulate yet. And I should not have to justify or defend my broken heart, my sadness and my deep sense of loss, at what has happened today. No one should.
A woman died today.
And more than a country, a monarchy and political entanglements, Queen Elizabeth was a woman, a human and a person of infinite value. If nothing else, let us mourn for that, and give her the least that one human ought to do for another.
Long live the monarchy!