Saturday, September 10, 2011

(You Took My) Joy (I Want It Back)

I wish I could go to Slidell and look for my joy. West Memphis, even.

If only it were that easy. My joy ain't in Slidell. And sure as Hell ain't in West Memphis.

I don't know where that shit is. But I think, after weeks of feeling miserable and acting like a bitch on wheels, I know when it started seeping out of my life. Joy, that is.

September 10, 2001. Ten years ago today.

That was the day the tiny cracks started to form in the foundation of my dream life. The day when I realized that I was neither charmed nor lucky or that if I ever had been my luck, very suddenly, had run out.

Oh, it's not that I had such a blessed an easy life up until that point. I was raised by a single mother at a time when that little feat earned you the moniker of Bastard in a shitty little house in what my husband has referred to as a slum. I was mocked for being poor. My mother worked two jobs and I never saw her and nothing I ever did was ever good enough. Oh yes...And she thought I was fat.

Somehow, though, things worked out for the best most of the time. Mostly because I was smart and worked hard. I got through school, got a scholarship, and got the Hell out of Dodge.

Anyway, things worked out okay. Not exactly the life I'd envisioned, but I ended up with a career I loved, married to a pretty cool guy, I converted to Catholicism, we bought our first house, and we were starting what I imagined would be a pretty cool life filled with friends, a family of our making, faith, and more good things than I had ever imagined. I was happy. All the time. Joyful. Optimistic. Loved. Loving.

Right after we moved into our house, I learned that I was pregnant with our first child. We had been married for a year and though it was a bit sooner than we planned, I was excited. And scared. But mostly just excited and trusting that it must be God's will.

Fast forward several weeks and there I was spending a weekend spotting and knowing that I was losing my baby – listening to a doctor tell me over the phone "If you're having a miscarriage – and you probably are – there is nothing we can do about it anyway. You just have to let nature take its course. You're not that far along. It happens."

It happens. Oh. Yes. Death. It happens. All the fucking time.

So, I spent Monday, September 10, 2001 at the hospital having another much more compassionate doctor confirm that I had lost the baby, having over 20 vials of blood drawn, making the logistical arrangements for a D & C scheduled for the next morning, and feeling so hollow from the experience that I simply didn't actually feel anything.

And then, the next day, I started feeling again. Pain. Heartache. A gut-wrenching sorrow that has never gone away. I only bury it until some other horrible thing splits my heart in two again and it all comes spilling out.

Best friends moving far away. Death. War. The death of a friend's child. Worrying constantly about a child and feeling helpless. PPD. Losing new friends and not knowing why. Feeling like I've wasted my life, somehow missed a calling but not having a clue what it was. Always wanting something that seems just out of reach but not knowing what it is. Constantly wishing I could turn back the hands of time and do things differently. Feeling like a a wife, as a mother, as anything that matters.

It seems that ever since September 10, 2001, there have been innumerable little setbacks, disappointments that by themselves would not matter. Yet, stacked one upon the other they have mounted into a stack of trouble I can no longer carry.

I know that hidden in there are beautiful gems of joy. My beautiful husband. My two perfect little boys. Friends. Music. Books and stories. Nature. My faith in God.

But for some reason, right now I'm realizing that the pain weighs more than the joy. And I'm so tired. I want to put it down. I want to start off again. Fresh and rested and light.

I just don't know how. And I find myself so angry all the time. Angry at all the people who have never had to see or feel or carry the pain in this world. The ones who have it easy. Of course, I know that's not helping my case, but, as my sons would say, stamping their feet, "It's not fair!"

Why does God burden some of us more than others? And what do I do with desire to smack the smug smiles off the faces of those who do have it so easy? I don't want to feel this way. It's not who I am. It's not who I used to be.

I want my Joy back.

I pray that tomorrow comes with the blessings I need to right my ship and find my way, quickly, back to my joy. Father, open my heart and mind to your gifts and protect me from the sorrow and grief, the anger and fear that threaten to consume me. Thank you for the time I sent with my boys tonight, for the beautiful full moon, and the gift of words. And wherever she is, bless my baby girl. Amen.