Sad and Happy

Nineteen years ago yesterday I woke up with a sinus infection. My face hurt, my nose was plugged, and my teeth throbbed. I think everyone can relate to that. The teeth throbbing thing really sucks. I also happened to be almost 8 months preggers. Baby Boy Joyce was not born yet, but was due the middle of the next month. Daddy-O had an interview with the fire department, and I decided that Miss JoDee and I would watch TV all day. Staying in bed, with a warm face cloth on my face.  By the afternoon my face really hurt and my back ached from laying in bed all day.  So, I called the doctor who told me to come in which is a real chore at nearly 8 months pregnant with a toddler. I struggled to get out of bed, and I struggled to get shoes on and I struggled to get JoDee ready. I can clearly remember her sitting on the bathroom floor not putting on her shoes after me telling her for the millionth time. I grabbed her arm yanking her to stand, it frightened her, and I felt terrible about it later.

I didn’t know I was in labor. I would have thought that since I had been down this road before that I would recognize labor, but I didn’t. I didn’t know until I got to the doctor’s office and they sent me over to the hospital. JoDee with me the whole time. I won’t get into all the details, like when she went to use the bathroom, found a bathtub, promptly shedding her clothes. She ran out of the bathroom in her socks to let me know she was going to take a bath. The nurse straightened that situation out. Eventually she was picked up by friends and family and labor progressed, Daddy-O showed up and huzzah, a baby was born. He was born the quietest baby, the best behaved and required the least attention. Not much has changed in the past 19 years.

Last year we celebrated Jay J’s birthday whole. All of us together, eating and drinking (non-alcoholic drinks, thank you very much) and being a family. This year was not much different, except one of us was missing. I don’t know if anyone felt her missing like I did but it was sad for me. She didn’t call him or me. Silence is a killer. When someone is yelling or screaming or crying at least you can understand what they are feeling. Silence is deafening. It’s the absence of something but it makes a very big statement. It is the epitome of making something of nothing.  I suppose, given the choice I know she is making of late, that I should get used to this. I have a feeling that this is going to be our new norm. She has made it clear when she leaves WATC she doesn’t want to go for further treatment, she is angry that she is there again, and she doesn’t want to talk to me. I always said that I would rather hate me and live then love me and die but what happens if she hates me and dies? I never really thought about that, but the truth is, that could very well happen.

Have you ever missed a person? I don’t mean like when you first start dating someone or your best friend is on vacation. I mean physical missed someone so badly you could smell the shampoo they used or the perfume they always wore. The kind of missing someone which can only accompany massive depression because you know you cannot see them, or talk to them. Sometimes there aren’t enough prayers in the world or anyone to hear them or just asking too much, so they can’t be answered. Sometimes people have to stay gone and away. I don’t know how the universe works, but missing someone sucks, even if it is what is supposed to happen.

I don’t believe that is what is supposed to happen anyway. I believe that life, everyone’s life, has two paths. At the time of birth we all start on a path. That is the beginning. A secondary road is parallel to us. It has a different outcome. At anytime we can jump back and forth between paths depending on the decision we make. Sometimes we may not understand why we end up back on an alternate path, and we aren’t meant to know. But at any time, we can make a choice to get on the other path again. That only happens when we recognize and acknowledge we need to make that change. Sometimes we are on an alternate path because of the decisions of others. In those situations all a person can do is stay the course, and hope for the best.

Yesterday, June 9th, was a really happy day for Jay J. He got his favorite dinner (pulled pork sandwiches with maple mayo and cheddar cheese) and Cinderella made baked mac and cheese with ritz crackers and corn on the cob. He also had his favorite cake and opened plenty of presents.  It was a happy day. And I was happy for him.

I was also sad, because I missed someone.

Middle To You

Because I have a daughter with a heroin addiction, I see you everywhere. I see you in the face of the homeless, begging outside the Red Sox game. A sign reads Homeless, Looking for Human Compassion. Anything Helps. As the sign-holder drools into his cup, with heavy eye lids, mumbling gibberish words to pedestrians passing by that don’t see you standing behind him. Smiling, holding his soul in your hand. I see you.

Middle to you

I see you in the pictures of my son’s 16 birthday party. Standing in the corner by the fence as JoDee leans against it, with slumped shoulders and a pale face in the hot, humid June sun. I see you staring at her boyfriend/drug runner/drug supplier watching him get sick, glee on your face as you know you have a life time customer. You whisper your own sweet yearnings into his ear, daring him to draw her in more. She isn’t completely sold yet, she hates being sick, she hates hiding from her family. You aren’t charming enough for her alone; she needs him to convince her more. One more time, you think, and she could be hooked for life. She takes his hand and walks out of the yard to his car. You are high fiving yourself for another victory.

Middle to you

When you stand next to the body of person, someone who was loved, and missed, and mourned, and suffered, and has died, and you watch their souls become free of you for the first time in years, you think you have won. You stand victoriously as though there is an audience to congratulate you on a job well done. You stand alone. You are celebrating at a time we are weeping. You are glorious at a time when we are grieving. You bang your chest like the king of the jungle, announcing his kill while we are banging our fist and screaming for answers that will never come.

Middle to you

At times that she is late, tired, frustrated and short tempered, I see you standing behind her smirking at me because I doubt her. The look of hurt in her eyes, that I have questioned her when she has been doing so well, gives you hope that maybe your customer will be back. The anger I feel for being in the position of doubting her intentions, her clean time and her truths, fuels your evil ways making you stronger. I hate when I see you lurking in my house, but you love to be there. You love to be everywhere, you love to be where you are not wanted, where you are wanted, where you go uninvited and were you are not only an invited guest but a guest that has been sought out with no mercy.

Middle to you

When a woman sells her soul and her body for you, when a man sells his soul and his body for you, when person steals for you, robs for you, lies for you, pawns for you, fights for you and then you give them only moments when they are looking for eternity.

Middle to you

When one is never enough and a thousand is too many.

Middle to you

When a baby stays locked in a car, an apartment, an alley, starving looking for his mommy or daddy who is in the corner, the alley, the abandoned building with you, instead of their baby.

Middle to you

When years of clean time are wiped away with one drop of your Satan oil.

Middle to you

When a baby is born blue, lifeless, with your juice flowing through their tiny body, with no chance, no life, no opportunity to live.

Middle to you

When a baby is born, sick, fighting for their life, the mommy guilt ridden, sick and craving, wanting to die, hoping the baby dies with her, ending all the suffering, while you stand in the hospital, arms open, enjoying the moment.

Middle to you

When lies become truths, when truths become lies, when love becomes hate, when loved ones become strangers, when tears are dried and gone and no one cares anymore.

Middle to you

I dream about taking your poison, to the enth degree, so I can see you holding my soul. I want to be in your space, in your place, so I can see the look on your face when I give you the finger as equal parts. So you can see that you are not what you think you are. So you can see that the victory is ours because the souls of those that left went to a place that is beautiful and healing and rewarding for their struggles here. Your victory is only as good as your poison, momentary. And you continue to seek out souls because you can never get enough. As addictive as you are, you are addicted to them. Until that day, Middle to you.



Loving Me Some Life

Today was a rare day. It was a day I don’t usually get or enjoy. I had a few really crap-ass things happen today but I had some good things happen too. JoDee has been home for about 2 weeks at this point. I haven’t seen her too much because of the ridiculous tundra of snow. I mean Salem and Danvers are not all that far apart but when you have ten million feet of snow in a months’ time, it sort of home bounds everyone. We did have a small mishap involving the car JoDee drives. That mishap would be she did not head the parking ban and her car was towed. I’m sure you know where this is going. Yup, I had to bail her car out of car-jail. The truth is, I would rather bail her car out than have to bail her out!

Of course, she needs her prescriptions filled, she has no groceries, and it was OC birthday, so she was making the trip over. I told her to come over early because we had a busy day planned. Starting with, going to see my 90 year old, bat-shit crazy grandmother. JoDee decided to come with me. This little trip to see my grandmother started with JoDee pulling in my driveway with enough gusto to plow into my recycling bins pinning them against my fence. She looked at me from the driver’s seat with a quizzical look on her face, and gave me a thumbs up, asking if she was parked alright. When she got in my car I pointed out her ridiculous parking job. And we basically laughed about it all day.

Those are the good moments. The moments I miss. It’s nice to have some of them back. But these moments have a truthful side that is sometimes hard to hear. At one point the needle cap I found under my seat last week when looking for a car key I had dropped was noticed by JoDee. This prompted all kinds of “when I was using” talk. She was surprised I still found needle caps in my car. I was too, but its par for the course. When she is using she doesn’t care if it’s my car, her car, someone else’s car, the side of the road, a bathroom, a locked unit. It’s all the same. A place for her to stick the needle in her arm to poison herself with the snake charm. She picked the cap up and studied it for a minute. She noticed it had teeth marks on it and commented she must have been in a rush because she really bit it. She said I must have spit it out, in a hurry because she usually looked for them so not to leave evidence behind. The conversation sort of evolved into the last time she was using and techniques she used to get money. I won’t break her confidence by spilling her guts but its times like that I really have to think who this girl is? How did my child who was afraid to get in trouble by me risk being arrested or harmed by doing such horrible illegal things? Why does she keep putting herself into these ridiculous situations? I guess that is just part of active addiction. I could tell by the way she was talking that she was even surprised at the things she would do or the lengths she would go too. And it’s hard for me to hear these things because I think to myself, if I gave her money she wouldn’t have to do that. But I can’t think that way. No matter what she does, and I really don’t want to know everything that is really her business, I can’t support her active addiction. I can only support her recovery. It doesn’t make it any less painful. It’s hard to hear the things that JoDee goes through.

On the heels of JoDee losing yet another of her NA family, it’s difficult to not still worry about her. Last week another boy that JoDee knew from NA passed away. He, like JoDee, has been coming in and out, according to her. This is not someone I knew personally, but that doesn’t matter. I can only imagine the pain his family must feel. And it was somewhat eye opening for me in regards to what JoDee thinks about our station in life. This is how this went:

JoDee via text: We lost another person to heroin

Me: Omg that is awful. When?

JoDee: Last night.

Me: So awful.

JoDee: Thank god you don’t have to worry about that anymore

Me: I worry about that every single day. I will never stop worrying about that. You are an addict every day and I wake up every day hopeful that you choose not to use but not naive enough to believe you won’t.

JoDee: Wow, way to think positive.

Me: I am positive you can do it if you want too. And I am positive you have the tools to do it but I am also positive that I get sick to my stomach every single time my phone rings from an unknown number wonder if this is going to be the dreaded phone call.

JoDee: Holy shit.

All of that is true for both of us. Only JoDee knows where she is in recovery. Only JoDee knows if she is conning us or doing the right thing. And I only I know the anxiety of wondering where JoDee’s head is in this process. What I said to her is true, and I do have a positive outlook but I am not as inexperienced to not expect the unexpected. I don’t ever want to get a call that JoDee is back in the hospital or on her way to detox, but I am better prepared to see it coming. I have tougher skin now, and I don’t take it as a personal failure when it happens. Instead, I see it for what it is, an addict in active drug addiction. I wish we never knew what heroin was. I wish that I had never gotten to the point that I know exactly what to say to the Intake Worker, or that I didn’t know the few things you are allowed to take to detox. I wish that most of my sick and vacation days last year were used for sick and vacation time not more heroin craziness. I wish I wish I wish. The list goes on and at the end of the day I know how fortunate I am because I don’t have to wish for one more day with JoDee and that is something so many parents are suffering through. I remain grateful. I don’t complain. Not about addiction.

I do complain about having to spend 40 minutes of my life that I will never get back in Build-A-Bear with OC and Jared so OC could build a bear for her birthday. Anyone experience this slice of hell right here on earth? I had no idea you actually built the damn bear! And I must say, Jared was no more thrilled about this than I was, but he was a trooper so we went to the Marble Store after to buy him a reward. I also complain about coming home from the Build-A-Bear horror show to find socks floating in my basement because my water tank let go. I complained about the money I had saved for a new mattress since my back is basically crocked going to a new water tank instead. Should I complain about these things? Probably not. But the other thing that has happened in the last few years, is I give a shit less what others think and I no longer make excuses for myself. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. At the end of the day, if I look in the mirror to see my own reflection and not the reflection of Reality, Grief, Fear, Despair, Anger or anyone else, I’m doing ok. And really, I’m doing ok. I love my job, I am so fortunate to work with people I enjoy working with at a job that is supportive and forgiving, I couldn’t ask for better. I have a great relationship with all my kids, and with AC kids. For the most part I have a great relationship with AC, as anyone in a long term relationship knows this is always a work in progress. I have awesome friends, and I have a daughter that is clean today. I am happy to reflect on the positive today. I cherish it because tomorrow may never come, and if it does who knows what is coming with it.