I had a 30-minute ride to the train station. I nestled into my seat, opened my phone, and saw that Representative Elijah Cummings had passed away.
I gasped and covered my mouth. The driver peeked at me in his rear-view mirror. He saw me shaking my head and whispering what many Americans whispered last Thursday: He was only 68.
My mind turned to my father, whom I had just left at a hotel in Princeton, New Jersey. Dread burned in my chest. To get my mind off my father’s mortality, I started reading obituaries for Cummings, who will lie in state today at the U.S. Capitol. The more I learned about the gentleman who would not yield, the more my chest burned for his family, for my family—for all the black families worrying about the mortality of their loved ones, for the black families burying their loved ones this week in caskets made from tears of They had so much more to give.
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