…since finding out JoDee was an addict. At least it feels like that. The first Thanksgiving she was missing in Arizona. Actually, she was no longer missing that’s for sure. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I was pouting in a bath tub with hot enough water to turn my skin into the same shade red as my OPI nail color called Red My Fortune Cookie while my phone was ringing endlessly on my kitchen table. By the time I decided to not drown myself, and got out of the water I had missed 4 calls. I was in the full throes of hysteria when she called back. Anyone following this blog knows how that turned out. Cliff Notes Version: Paid a drug dealer a ransom to get her a ride to my Uncle. Said Uncle showed up packing heat and ready to shoot the face off any loser who tried something funny. And Thanksgiving morning he deposited her on a plane back to Boston. At midnight-ish AC, Daddy-O and I went to the airport to pick her up. Also, side note: it was also the week I got my favorite of all time kitty, Diego. My soul mate. My love. My….oh ha ha just kidding….
The following Thanksgiving was different but not by much. She was using, barely awake for dinner and I wanted to punch her face off while wrapping her in a blanket to hold on my lap. The year after that JoDee had run from a program the weeks before and was staying in a sober house that I said I would not pay for her to get into and then, like a suckah, caved in and paid. She was doing well. She seemed to be doing well. She spent the whole day with us smiling and being wonderful. We played music and had a fire in the pit in the yard. We played games and laughed and really had a good time as a family which is something we don’t get very often. It didn’t take that long to fall apart, however. By Christmas she was nasty and hostile. Clearly was using but trying hard to hide it. We still spent Christmas together but shortly after that we had JoDee sectioned which was a miserable heart wrenching yet relieving day. I won’t get into that.
Last Thanksgiving JoDee showed up late and high but I could tell she used just enough to get by. Something I should have recognized at the time. I should have seen that she was trying to be with us. I should have seen that her using just enough to keep from getting sick meant that being with us was important to her too. But, that is not what happened. My grandmother was with us and having her watch JoDee with the heavy eyelids made me so effing angry. I was furious. I was embarrassed for her which also made me resent her. So, I yelled at her. I made her leave. I told her she couldn’t be with us. The look of hurt on her face is something I still see when I close my eyes. She was embarrassed and humiliated and deflated and mad. It’s one of the things I will never forgive myself for. My grandmother got upset, she ran out, the kids were frozen in place. It was awful. And I know she called the disgusting old man (I hate to use that word because he is no man) whom she stayed with for several days. She turned her phone off because she was mad at me. The Friday after Thanksgiving AC and I tried to have her sectioned. It took us forever to get them to issue the warrant. The police went to the house she was at, that I knew she was at because I was literally, LITERALLY, stalking the house, and knocked on the door. She answered the door smiling denying she was herself and they said ok have a good day, leaving her there. That was not a good time for me. I don’t think I got out of bed or showered until I had to return to work on Monday.
This Thanksgiving, well this one, it has to be different. I know that it is still several days away so I am breaking my own rule by talking about it because I am going to jinx it. However, I feel moderately comfortable (actually I will cross fingers, knock on wood and throw salt over my shoulder just as a precaution) talking about it. Or writing about it. As a family we still have a lot going on. Moving, preparing to have my grandmother come to live with us, end of year approaching for work, etc, etc. For that reason, amongst more that I can’t even put into words, I am flipping Thanksgiving upside down. There will be no cooking a Turkey Dinner. There will be none of me slaving over a stove for a stupidly long time for everyone to eat in 15 min and then retire to the nearest sleeping spot. This Thanksgiving I am going to show that I am truly grateful this year. The year was tough. We had some really low, low’s. Some heart breaking moments. The year is looking as though it might end for the better. Maybe the best we have had in our family in a long time. One month from now we will be moving into a bigger house, enough room for us all to stretch out and a separate in-law for my grandmother to have her own space. And most important, JoDee is doing well. She is over 30 days clean. She is grateful and remorseful and humble. She is writing letters and taking responsibility for her actions. She admits she is not in control. She has said and expressed things she hasn’t in 5 years. One of which is that she hadn’t realized how much time had passed. She was shocked when she really put together the number of years we have been tortured by her addiction.
Let’s be clear, shall we? She is not “all better”. She is doing well, and we are cautiously optimistic but that doesn’t mean we can relax or let our guard down. It just means that she is on a different path. One I hope she stays on. And I am so grateful for that. For that reason, AC, the kids and I are going to do something else. We are going to be doing something different then we have in previous years. Hopefully something that brings us and others some joy. Hopefully the family isn’t to annoyed with me when they find out just what I got them into!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from me and mine.