‘I Am Calling for a Declaration of a State of Emergency for Black People’

Andrea Jenkins is the vice president of Minneapolis City Council for Ward Eight. After a long career in public service, she made history in 2017, when she became the first openly transgender black woman to be elected to public office. This is her message from the ground in Minneapolis, where protests have raged since George Floyd was killed on May 25. Here, she tells Glamour how she hopes to move forward—and make lasting change.

It’s been a week since George Floyd was murdered. Over the past seven days in Minneapolis, I’ve witnessed chaos and pain, prayer and pleas, anger and grief, and organized demands for systemic change. I’m exhausted. I feel emotionally drained. But as an elected official, a community member, and a black trans woman, I am determined to seek justice for George Floyd and for all the people who have been harmed by state violence. Justice for Breonna Taylor. Justice for Ahmaud Arbery. I’m in pursuit of justice.

This is an emergency. I’m not talking about the coronavirus. I’m talking about racism. As all the universities in the world scramble to try to find a cure for the coronavirus, that same level of concern and action is needed to rid our society of the virus that is racism. I am calling for a declaration of a state of emergency for black people. Racism is a public health crisis.

On paper, Minneapolis has one of the worst documented financial disparities between black and white residents. But I travel all around the United States, and I don’t think there is any place in this country that is less racist. Being black in Minneapolis and everywhere else means that you are constantly fighting racism. It means that when you are driving in your car and you see police lights flashing, your heart races. Even if you know that you have all your proper documentation, you turned on your turn signals, and you’ve done everything right, you still enter fight-or-flight mode. It is frightening. It’s exhausting.

I’ve worked in public service for over 25 years. In 2018 I became the first openly transgender black American elected to public office. I’m very, very happy to be in this position. But to be honest, sometimes I wish I were serving burgers at McDonald's. When I was running for office, I used to joke that we were “going to hell on a burning bus.” It was a metaphor. Now we’re literally going to hell on a burning bus. But I’ve always stated that if I have to take that ride, I want to be the driver. And so that’s what I’m doing and that’s where I am.

As a black person in America, you think about your race every day—and not because you are racist, just because every day there are microaggressions that force you to think about your identity, which is something that I suspect most white people don’t have to do.

Right now my community is being occupied by military forces—we have the largest deployment of the National Guard in our state’s history, combined with county sheriffs, with university police, metropolitan transit police, and our own Minneapolis police department. We’re hearing reports of white nationalists that have infiltrated our communities and infiltrated the protesters. Yet, on the other hand, at the site where the George Floyd murder occurred, there is this beautiful outpouring of community support—there have been murals that have been erected, people are out there 24 hours a day since it happened, mourning with the family and talking as a community. They come to pay their respects, but they are all deeply concerned about justice.

The thing that I will say about this situation—four officers were fired the very next day. That never happens. In fact, it took five years for the officer who murdered Eric Garner to be arrested. Within three days, the main perpetrator in this incident was charged. But I know for a fact that people are calling for significant systemic change. And those actions are victories in terms of organizing and protesting. However, they are not systemic changes.

We need to shift the paradigm on how we police our communities, putting more resources and responsibilities into the hands of our residents. Right now it’s like the police are an island, and they view the community as enemy combatants. That cannot be the operation as we move forward from this national crisis. Right now all of our attention is really on the most privileged in our culture and society. Change would look like overhauling the way we fund our schools. Education is funded on property taxes, so if you live in a low-income community, guess what? You are going to have undersupported schools. If you live in wealthy suburban communities, you have outstanding school districts!

Systemic change would look like making sure that every dollar that we spend—whether as the state, the county, or the federal government—that it has an equity framework that is intended to help the most marginalized people.

I want to end with a message for black women: Figure out a self-care plan. Please nourish your own bodies. Breathe. Be in network and communication with your friends and your family. Set up pods, within the restrictions of the coronavirus, that you can use for support.

I know people are really distrustful of the government, and I think rightfully so, but we have to stay engaged. America is an experiment. We are continuously trying to figure out how to be Americans. And we have to stay engaged in the process. We have to continue to lift up democracy. Black women have been doing that since the beginning of this country, and I pray that that we have the strength to continue.

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How Kate Middleton creates ‘instant rapport’ and ‘likability’ over lockdown video calls

Prince William and Kate Middleton have appeared on video calls on national TV and the royal Instagram account together and separately. Kate appeared on This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield a few weeks ago.


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She and William also appeared together on the Kensington Palace Instagram account calling bingo numbers for a care home’s game.

A body language expert analysed Kate’s video link appearances.

Judi James told Express.co.uk the couple have a great rapport on screen.

She said: “William and Kate seem to have managed to achieve the tricky blend of being regal but accessible and understated at the same time and their techniques are visible in their body language on this virtual visit to play bingo at a care home.

“Their approach seems to relax the people they visit while still creating an aura of ‘specialness’ that will make their presence memorable.”

Judi revealed the pair succeed partly due to focusing on others, instead of on themselves.

“They work well as a team but their prime focus seems to be on the people they’re visiting rather than one another,” the body language expert said.

“There are only two brief moments when they face-check one another and they both involve approval signals when one of them has cracked a joke.

“Otherwise their strong bonding and like-minded thinking as a couple is shown in their natural trait of mirroring and their choreography and timing as they take it in turns to speak.”

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Kate in particular has a “ritual” to help boost her likability.

Judi said: “Kate employs a sweet, ‘baby wave’ as her greeting ritual as well as a small giggle that makes her appear slightly shy, which in turn would raise her likability points with a new audience.

“Her nose-wrinkling grin looks like a joke she’s sharing with the people she’s visiting, which again would create instant rapport, even over a video link.”

Judi warns the pair “tend to peer down into the screen which can make an audience feel like they’re under scrutiny through a microscope”, however, they combat this with leaning forwards.


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Judi said: “The way they both lean forward into the camera forms a lowering technique that stops them from appearing too grand.”

She went on: “The couple can also switch moods quickly and with congruence, using expressions of concern as William asks about the mental health of their audience but then flipping back into smiles as he jokes about Welsh people being fun.

“Clearly neither of them look like regular Bingo players but they turn the joke on themselves nicely rather than looking too grand to know anything about the game.”

However, Kate Middleton was recently accused of “whining” about lockdown. 

Writer Bernadette Giacomazzo, who has penned a number of op eds about the British Royal Family, accused the media of “portraying her as a delicate, put-upon flower”.

In an article for CCN, she claims the Duchess’s comments on struggling through coronavirus amount to “whining.”

Ms Giacomazzo wrote: “In a recent interview, the Duchess said that assuming more responsibilities in the wake of COVID-19 was ‘so difficult.’

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex uses this technique to ‘add drama’ in public appearances

Sophie, Countess of Wessex is the daughter-in-law of the Queen and a working royal. With her husband, Prince Edward, 56, she has made many speeches in her senior royal role. An expert revealed exactly what she does to add more drama at appearances.


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Sophie and Prince Edward have been married since June 19, 1999.

Since then, they have had two children together, Lady Louise Windsor, 16, and James, Viscount Severn, 12.

Shortly after marrying the Queen’s son, Sophie took on a role as a working royal.

Like others in this position, she will represent the monarch at various events all over the world.

This is something she has kept up during the coronavirus lockdown and recently appeared via video call.

Before joining the Royal Family, Sophie worked in public relations for many years.

While all royals surely get training on public speaking, her previous career could have influenced her speeches at events.

Since taking on more responsibilities, Sophie appears to have altered her style of speaking, communications and body language expert Judi James explained.

She told Express.co.uk: “Sophie’s background was in media and she can deliver a mean corporate speaking style.

“Taking over the Duke of Edinburgh’s duties for a speech at the CMI she began in a similar understated style before going what she called ‘off piste’.

She also swapped the script for some direct ad-libs and stories and added drama and humour.”

When attending public engagements, the Countess has made an effort to inject her own personality into what she says.


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By doing this, the expert suggested she has been able to give more dramatic accounts.

Sophie has also engaged with what she says and adjusts her style based on what she is talking about, Judi added.

“The warmth was still there but her tone became more hard-hitting as she spoke about gender equality,” she continued.

“This time we can see dramatic pauses, a more chatty tone as she told a story about speaking to a board room full of men, plus a lower and more authoritative vocal tone that created empathy with her audience of business leaders.”

This style of speaking looks to be something Sophie uses when speaking outside of the palace and without other royals there, the expert suggested.

Judi said: “Unlike deliveries at the palace, Sophie did use more ‘ums’ as verbal fillers.

“This could have implied some nervousness at the start, but they were rare enough to add a more natural appeal to her talk, rather than sticking to an unemotional, word-perfect delivery that might have had less impact.”

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How to get rid of flies inside your home – the simple tricks

Ultimately, the most effective way of getting rid of flies is by using a professional fly control service. But as this may not always be a feasible option, there are several cost-effective methods you can try at home.

How to get rid of flies indoors

Plastic bottle traps

The first step is to clean an empty, two-litre plastic bottle.

Carefully remove the top third of the bottle by cutting near where the top of the drink label would be.

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Pour a sweet liquid, such as sugar water into the bottom third of the bottle.

Next, turn the top third of the bottle upside-down to act as a cone and place it in the opening of the larger part of the bottle.

As a result, flies will make their way into the bottle but will be unable to get out.

Vinegar and dish soap fly trap

First, take a shallow bowl or dish and fill it with an inch of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar.


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Next, add some fruit-scented washing up liquid.

The dish can be left uncovered or tightly covered with cling film – but make sure to poke holes in the covering to attract the flies.

How to get rid of flies outside

Flies can also be a nuisance outside your home but there are various plants you use to repel them.


Basil doesn’t require much maintenance and it can survive in any climate.

Bay Leaf

These leaves grow well during the warmer months and can be brought indoors.


You can hang this plant in bundles around your home or garden, or simply let it grow.


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As well as flies, this flower as keeps away aphids, most beetles and squash bugs.

Nasturtiums also promote the growth of other plants, which is why many gardeners plant them along the edges of their gardens.


This herb can be grown near windows or other openings in your home to help keep flies away, plus mice and ants.

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Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons: This is best time to shop as quietest hours change

Supermarkets have regularly updated shopping rules as the coronavirus lockdown has resulted in long queues outside stores. Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl have all had queues as social distancing measures are enforced. When is the quietest time to shop?


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During the coronavirus lockdown, supermarkets have been following social distancing rules.

There have been limitations on how many people can shop at one time leading to big queues outside stores.

Still, there could be a best time to shop to avoid a long wait, according to visiting data available on Google.

Although this will vary from store to store, some times and days are quieter than others.


Customers could get round the stores more quickly by visiting before 11am or in the middle of the afternoon, around 3pm.

Shopping between 5pm and 8pm is the busiest time, according to Google data.

Like most supermarkets, certain shopping hours have been put aside for NHS staff and vulnerable customers.

Tesco stated: “We have extended our special hour in stores for NHS staff as a thank you for all they are doing.

“The NHS hours are on Tuesdays and Thursday from 9am -10am in all large stores. Also on Sundays, they can continue to browse our large stores and select their shopping, an hour before the checkouts open.”

For the vulnerable, it continued: “We have prioritised one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning between 9-10am for these customers. This does not include Express stores.”


Shoppers could beat the crowds by going before 9am or after 9pm, with the middle of the day being the busiest.

Avoiding big shops at the weekend will also make getting stuck in long queues less likely.

NHS and care workers can shop in larger stores on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am and 9am.


The supermarket will update stock throughout the day to help shoppers get what they want no matter when they go.

Sainsbury’s told Express.co.uk: “We are working hard to keep our shelves well stocked so that customers can arrive at any point during store open hours and find most of the items that they need.”

Browsing on a Wednesday seems to be the quietest time to go.


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The retailer is less busy around 3pm, according to visiting data.


Customers could avoid queues by going during the day and not visiting after 5pm, which is the busiest time.

The retailer previously posted on Twitter: “Thank you to our customers for continuing to shop considerately.

“We’re generally less busy later in the day so if you’d like to shop when it’s quieter, and are able to, try visiting us in the afternoon to get the essentials you need.”


The retailer has announced it will roll out traffic light technology in branches to help manage long queues.

Visiting the retailer in late evening, after 8pm, can help avoid waiting altogether.

Unsurprisingly, staying away on Saturdays and Sundays will make queues less likely.


Visiting the retailer during the week seems to be the quietest time to go.

Shoppers can beat the queues by visiting at the beginning or towards the end of the day.

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Cosmopolitan recipe: How to make a Cosmo – Mixologist shares secret tips

The Cosmopolitan, often referred to as a Cosmo, is a cocktail usually served in a martini glass and made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice. One claimant to be the creator of the Cosmo is bartender Neal Murray who says he first created the Cosmopolitano in 1975 at the Cork & Cleaver Steak House in Minneapolis. According to Murray, he added a splash of cranberry juice to a Kamikaze and the first taster declared, “How cosmopolitan” leading to the naming of the new beverage.

However, the origins of the popular drink are hotly contested – with many claiming the beverage is their creation.

But wherever it really did come from, the delicious drink gained popularity quickly.

The love of the Cosmo soared thanks to Sex and the City, where Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, commonly ordered the drink when out with her girlfriends.

Want to learn how to make one at home? Express.co.uk spoke to a mixologist to find the best Cosmo recipe.

How to make a Cosmopolitan

Jim and Tonic’s Head Bartender & Mixologist Seb Stefan explains exactly how you can make a Cosmo at home.


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  • 35ml Vodka or Citrus Vodka
  • 20ml Triple Sec
  • 1 Lime or 20ml of fresh lime juice
  • 35ml cranberry juice
  • Ice
  • Orange (peel to garnish)
  • A 3-part cocktail shaker kit is recommended for best results (also known as a Parisian or Manhattan shaker).


1. Pour the vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice into the tin and then fill hallway with ice. Close the lids and shake until the outside of the tin gets frosty.

Tip: If you don’t have a cocktail shaker you can use a clean jam jar. Close the lid tightly before shaking and strain with a tea strainer.

2. Once done remove the small top lid and strain the liquid straight it into your martini / cocktail glass.

3. Peel a thin strip of orange with a knife or peeler. To garnish give the peel a twist and drop into top of the drink.

Seb said: “Our version of the Cosmo, the ‘Cosmopolitano’, which appears on our Grand Central themed cocktail bar at Mercato Metropolitano, the sustainable community food market where our distillery and bar are based.

“We substitute the Triple Sec for an equal measure of Amaretto, which delivers a sweeter taste in-keeping with the Italian heritage of the market.”


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Jim and Tonic offer a Thursday to Sunday home delivery service within London zones 1 to 3 where you can order pre-batch bottles of their Cosmo cocktail alongside 7 other classic and signature freshly made read-made cocktails.

J&T founder Jim said: “The spirit that we produce and use to make our Cosmo is a perfect example of the reduce, reuse and regenerate methods that we practice as a sustainable distillery.

“We create the vodka by re-distilling the gin that doesn’t make it into our final gin product and carbon filter it to extract any remaining juniper flavours.

“The Triple Sec that we use is also made by macerating and then distilling waste citrus peels from our bars so we reuse as many waste and by-products as we can.”

There’s a whole host of variations of the Cosmopolitan you can try.

One easy variation calls for stirring in a mixing glass, instead of shaking.

While a virgin cosmopolitan replaces the vodka and triple sec with orange juice and pink lemonade.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Kathy Wakile created a Red Velvet Cosmo, based on one of her favourite desserts, red velvet cake.

She later created the ready-to-pour cocktail, Red Velvet Cosmo, which won a medal in a national tasting competition.

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Kate Middleton hair: All the times the Duchess of Cambridge has nailed a chic updo

The Duchess of Cambridge has become known for her impeccable style and flawless hair, but as the UK lockdown continues her fans have seen her with a new look. Taking part in video calls from her home with Prince William in Anmer Hall, Norfolk, Kate has had a more relaxed look to her hair and is likely to be styling it herself. In their recent virtual appearance, Kate wore her brunette locks in a chic updo – and it’s not the first time she’s ditched her usual blow-dry. 


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The Duke, 37, and Duchess of Cambridge, 38, took part in a video call to celebrate the first anniversary of Shout, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text line, last week. 

Kate wore her thick brunette hair in a swept-back style, showing off a subtle tan in a white scalloped Sandro top while the pair spoke to the Shout volunteers. 

As the lockdown continues and social distancing means hair salons are closed around the country, it’s unknown whether Kate is styling her own hair, but experts think it is likely. 

The mother of three has been wearing a much more casual look in recent weeks, with soft waves that have been brushed out rather than the carefully coiffed curls that the public are used to seeing. 

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As a busy mum who’s having to homeschool the children while keeping up with charity work, it’s no wonder Kate is opting for easier styles and quick updos. 

But the Duchess has also worn some beautiful hair-up looks for royal engagements and events in the past that are just as pristine as her go-to blow-dry. 

Kate often goes for a chignon style for the bigger occasions. Royal protocol dictates that hats are always worn for formal occasions, with Kate carefully following the rules and even wearing a fascinator for her sister Pippa Middleton’s wedding. The Duchess wore her long hair in a chic, twisted updo for the big day. 

Clive Lever, Senior Stylist at Jo Hansford’s Mayfair salon, commented: “The chignons that Kate Middleton wears are a modern take on a classic look. It is effortless and softer so it does not look overdone. and is a younger version of the French pleats and chignons worn by an older generation. 

“It suits her age, and is sophisticated and elegant but doesn’t detract from the headwear, and is not too formal.”

Kate also wore a similar look for Princess Eugenie’s wedding, only with a modern twist. 

The Duchess was wearing a fuchsia pink fascinator on top of a sleek yet slightly more casual twisted chignon style that was pulled to the side slightly, giving it a more trendy and relaxed feel. 

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The side-swept look is one Kate has turned to for other formal events, too – on Anzac day she wore her brunette locks in a glossy chignon style that showed off her statement earrings. The Duchess had plenty of volume at the crown to balance out the neat knotted style, giving it an edgier finish. 

“Quite often when wearing fascinators or hats the hair style has to be created to work around the headpiece so these updos work on both levels,” explained Clive. 

“The side chignon may be used to create the balance of the headpiece. Keeping her hair back in a tight style prevents any flyaways, as looser styles can become dishevelled by the elements such as the wind if outdoors which could end up looking messy and creating the need to be fiddled with.”

Clive said the prep for the royal chignon will still involve Kate’s signature blow-dry. 

“It’s really important to always blow dry the hair before creating these looks so the hair is still smooth and sleek and shiny. The styles also show off her hair colour and the low lights beautifully.”


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Kate has mastered the art of the flawless chignon, which she’s also worn to Ascot before – but it’s not just the style that’s the key to the look. Fans with an eye for detail will spot that Kate wears a very fine, delicate hairnet in the same shade as her hair so that it keeps her look in place while almost going undetected. The clever trick keeps her style from becoming unruly throughout the day. 

However, while Kate usually picks the classic chignon or intricate styles for her royal appearances, she has previously sported a more casual look that has been seen in her lockdown days. 

On a visit with Prince William to Blackpool in 2019, the fashionable royal wore her thick hair swept back into a soft, mid-height ponytail, with soft curls throughout the ends.

The modern look was topped off with a wrap of her hair around the base, a nifty trick used by many pros for a sleek finish to give the humble pony some wow factor. 

Kate’s long lengths give her plenty of options when it comes to hair styling. 

On a recent visit to a children’s hospital in Lambeth, Kate wore her hair in a half-up style with pretty tousled waves as she met with young patients.  

The Duchess famously opted for a half-up do for her wedding day in 2011, though of course it was also dressed up with a tiara and veil. It’s also a look Meghan Markle’s been trying during her own virtual lockdown appearances. 

“The half up, half down is a younger look; not ageing, but more relaxed and not harsh. It shows her softer and gentle personality as does the backcombed ponytail. This is fresh and modern and in keeping with fashion but without trying to make a statement,” commented Clive. 

“Kate is beautiful, stylish and elegant but her clothes and hair never overshadow her, she always manages to look fashionable without trying too hard.”

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Kate Middleton wears £1.7k blue dress in new Royal Family Instagram video to honour nurses

A number of members of the Royal Family appeared in the video to celebrate International Nurses day. It included the Princess Anne, Charles and Camilla. The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton also took part.


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Kate Middleton wore a midi-dress by French designer Joseph Altuzarra.

The Duchess of Cambridge first wore the dress in 2016.

She wore the gown to a school visit with William in the 2016 trip.

It’s the Aimee polo dot dress, which sold for around £1,748.38.

The Duchess completed the look with a pair of earrings from Patrick Mavros.

These are the Ocean Tides Milky Quartz earring with 18ct gold and silver.

The gems cost £800, made of cabochon earrings with milky quarts and diamond.

He studs are sea inspired and are meant to evoke sea urchins.

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Kate wore her hair in an elegant half up, half down look.

She wore silvery grey eye shadow and a peach blusher.

The royals have been appearing in video calls recently, replacing their official duties in public.

Kate Middleton appeared on This Morning wearing a stunning yellow dress.


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Kate Middleton wore the Bracelet Sleeve Silk Yellow Dress from the brand, which costs £398.

The dress is made in the UK but the British brand.

Raey is a brand based in the UK, with a flagship store in Notting Hill, London.

The shop is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, however, you can still shop the items at Matches.

Another stunning blue dress worn by the Duchess recently was a £60 number from Boden.

Kate wore the dress in the family’s 2019 Christmas card picture.

Again, she wore the earrings from Patrick Mavros.

Fans praised the video, with one writing: “Kate you are just so beautiful inside and out.”

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I Lost My Mom 12 Years Ago. And No, I'll Never ‘Get Over’ It

I want my mom. I just want to lay my head in her lap, let her rub my back, and take a break. This is how I feel every time I get sick, when I feel overwhelmed, and lately, when I hear the stories of suffering that the coronavirus pandemic has caused. I miss her all the time, but I can feel the creep of anxiety when I think about how stressful it would have been to manage her multiple conditions in the midst of this crisis.

Still, I crave the woman who stopped breathing 12 years ago on an otherwise unremarkable day in February. I held her when she collapsed, watched her have a seizure, and soon after, watched her leave this world. As I promised her we would be, we were in the home I grew up in, surrounded by family.

In the years leading up to that day, I had tried to prepare myself for her death. My mother had had multiple sclerosis since I was 13, and nine years later, she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. After ravaging her bones, her cancer decided to camp out in her brain. There was no denying the ultimate outcome, but as I learned after she died, preparing for someone you love to leave you doesn’t mean you’ll ever be ready for it..

When it happened, it didn’t matter how much time I’d spent reading Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s On Death and Dying or the number of times I’d reminded myself that this is how it would end. I felt lost. My mother had not only been my mom, she had also been my anchor and my compass.

As a young person, I had organized my life around being a caregiver. Now she was gone, and with her I lost a formative part of who I was. It was disorienting. I realized that her death—the immediate fact of it—would not even be the hardest part. Death is just the beginning of an zigzagging, confusing, and life-altering grieving process. Helping my mom die on her own terms was far easier than what came next.

As hard as those early days and weeks were for me, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would feel like to lose her right now. To not have the comfort of spending her final moments with our relatives and loved ones. To not have been able to visit her during her multiple hospitalizations. To not have had friends who traveled hours, even through a blizzard, to be with me as I navigated her loss. The opportunity to grieve in the embrace the people who love you is yet another thing we’ve lost to COVID-19.

The months after my mother died are a blur. What I do remember is the judgment I felt as I marked the anniversaries of her death—1 month, 6 months, 12 months. I could see that some were frustrated that I hadn’t “gotten over it.” I wasn’t “good” at moving on. Instead I continued to grieve the loss, and I struggled with depression and anxiety for much longer than what others considered reasonable. If I’m honest, I think some part of me agreed with them. I should feel better, I thought. But 12 years later, I have come to understand that you never “get over it.”

You grow through the loss. You change. You adapt. But you don’t get over it.

I still grieve and celebrate my mother. I had to grieve her when I got my dream job in Barack Obama’s White House and she wasn’t there to experience meeting the first black president. I wept constantly when I got engaged, not because I was worried about getting married, but because the one person who would care about every single detail as much as I did wasn’t there. There was no way my then fiancé, who is wonderful, was going to get half as excited as I was, or as my mother would have been, about custom letterpress invitations. And now, when I cry for the baby I planned to give birth to this year, the baby we worked so hard to create and that I sacrificed my body for, the baby that just isn’t meant to be, all I want in the world is for my mother to be here to comfort me. “Not getting over it” has allowed my mother to remain an active part of my life even 12 years later. It is impossible to know me without knowing my mother.

Twelve years of grieving has shown me there’s no right way to do it.

I know that when the anniversary of her death rolls around each year, right around when she died, I will have an epic meltdown. It is as if my body remembers the trauma and just shuts down. I spend her birthday and that anniversary surrounded by people who love me and are prepared to provide me with a glass of bourbon (neat) and a box of tissues. Usually at the same time.

As someone who doesn’t think of herself as “emotional,” it has taken some time for me to accept that complicated feelings around grief are normal. When I struggle, I remind myself that I lost my mother, my best friend, and my compass. I’d oriented my life around a sick parent since before I started high school; her illness and her death are part of me. There’s no getting over that. I think about my mom every day and talk about her regularly with family and friends, many of whom never had a chance to meet her. I may have buried her, but she still has a place and a presence in my life and in the lives of the people who love me. I’ve chosen to let my grief evolve in the way that feels most natural to me.

But 12 years of grieving has shown me that there’s no right way to do it. So if you’re grieving—especially suddenly, in the middle of what is an unquestionably hard time for everyone—consider this permission to stop trying to “perfect” the process or move on. Don’t take it from me, although I do have over a decade of experience in this realm. Take it from my mom. If she were still here, she would tell you to relax and that it’s okay. She’d sooth you. And then she’d feed you.

Marisa Renee Lee is the cofounder of Supportal, a platform that makes it easy for people to respond when someone they care about is faced with a life-changing challenge. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @marisareneelee.

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Morrisons Afternoon Tea Box for VE Day costs just £15 – how to get one

Morrisons Afternoon Tea Box is being sold ahead of this bank holiday, which falls on Friday this week. The new box can be delivered to Britons’ doors for £15.


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The box includes everything you need for a delicious, traditional British afternoon tea.

It also includes some delicious tears including Champagne truffles.

What’s in the Morrisons Afternoon Tea Box?

  • Morrisons The Best All Butter Sultana Scones
  • Rodda’s Classic Cornish Clotted Cream
  • Mini Tiptree Strawberry Jam
  • Morrisons Lemon Bakewell Tarts
  • Morrisons The Best Belgian Chocolate Fudge Cake
  • Morrisons Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich Filler
  • Morrisons Cheese & Onion Sandwich Filler
  • Morrisons 40 Everyday Tea Bags
  • Cravendale Semi Skimmed Milk
  • Morrisons Meduim White Bread
  • Morrisons The Best Marc De Champagne Truffles

Chief Executive of Morrisons, David Potts, said: “We’re playing our part in feeding the nation and that includes being there for customers in times of commemoration and celebration.

“These boxes will allow those who would normally be getting together with friends and family to treat themselves to an afternoon tea at home.”

What is VE Day?

VE Day stands for Victory in Europe Day.

It celebrates Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces in the Second World Way.

The historic event fell on Tuesday, 8 May 1945.

This Friday marks 75 years, but sadly the UK will be celebrating in lockdown.

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However, there will be a two minute silence at 11am on Friday to mark the sacrifice of those who lost their lives and loved ones in the war.

Some Britons are planning to take to their doorsteps at 3pm to cheer in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War Two.

The VE Day website has suggested the chat: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”

A speech from the Queen will be broadcast at 9pm.


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In other supermarket news, Marks & Spencer home delivery launches today across UK. 

A large number of stores are taking part in the incentive, launched with Deliveroo.

Marks and Spencer is offering 130 items on Deliveroo, including food and household items. The companies have promised to get deliveries to your door within 30 minutes.

This includes the shop’s popular ready meals and Percy Pigs.

A huge number of stores are taking part.

This includes in Derby, Notting, Cambridge and Liverpool, among others.

Express.co.uk has the full list here. 

M&S has also revealed how it is celebrating VE day with customers. It is offering a commemorative shortbread tin to celebrated the day.

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