I haven’t written an entry in a while. I was reading a lot on PTSD–very specifically, testimonies of people who recovered from PTSD– and realized I’m not who I used to be seven years ago. And when I write, it is not really me writing so much as it is my disease. This disease which has infected my body and mind and heart and soul. This disease which has taken away the best of me and hidden it deep beneath its darkness and claws. And why would I want to give this awful disease a blog.
A lot happens in seven years, in any seven years of any given person. And my seven years are no exception. And I have told myself it is these things, these hundreds other things that come into our lives in any seven year period, that have changed me. Not the one thing that has. But it is not these things; it is *the* thing. That one thing. The ordeal, I call it. My trauma.
My husband is getting his house ready to sell, the house he’s had since his son was a baby. And he tells me about the boxes of old cards and letters and pictures he goes through as he packs up a decade and a half of memories. I don’t save those things, I tell him. That’s odd, he comments. I don’t save the boys drawings either, I remind him. (He’s the one who does) You’re right, he says.
They could be gone. Gone at any moment. You shouldn’t get so attached. But I’m not talking about the drawings and letters. I’m talking about my boys. My boys that perp said he’d kill. My boys I thought he’d kill. My boys I placed in God’s hands that day I called the FBI to turn him in.
They were so small. Soldier boy had just turned four. The Ax was two and a half. They still took bottles to bed at night and wore diapers.
I gave them over to God and turned him in because they deserved a mother who does the right thing. Because I had a choice: body or soul. But that’s really not much of a choice, now is it.
Princess is two and change and so was The Ax when the ordeal started. I remember taking them sled riding when it snowed early that winter. It was a snowy winter. It was a snowy lake town we lived in then. I remember riding down the little hill in front of our house and giggling.
I remember the possibility. Life held so much possibility.
Right after the ordeal, right after he went to jail, I spent my weekends going door-to-door campaigning for Obama in rural western Pennsylvania (Pennsyltucky). I walked up and down the streets of Saltsburg getting out the vote. The audacity of hope and all that.
When Soldier boy was born sick, I formed the Pittsburgh chapter of MOB ( mothers opposing Bush) and spent the fall going door to door with him strapped on my back. Little old ladies saying I should be ashamed to have a baby out in the cold and the rain. I thought they didn’t get that what I was doing, what I was giving him, was so much more important than keeping warm and dry at any cost.
But the election of 2012 came and went and I barely noticed. For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t care about the election. Not even a little.
My therapist asks me how I did when my husband went out of town this week and I tell her it was like it usually is. She asks what I did to try to raise my spirits and I tell her I was up late making buckeye balls for the cookie exchange at work and put on old Obama speeches from 2008 on YouTube to listen to to try to perk myself up. She tells me this is not a normal thing, not a typical way a person tries to cheer themselves up. And I remember going door to door after the trauma and I tell her. And I remember going door to door after Soldier boy and I tell her.
There was hope then, right after the ordeal. But somehow it has drained out of me since then. These seven years. I do what must be done. Because it must. I go through all the appropriate motions. Day in and day out. But… The world is infinitely smaller now. Duller too. Flatter. It’s kind of like a book you don’t bother finishing because you can guess the ending.
But therein lies the rub. One of the things I must do is give my kids the life they deserve. I cannot teach them the world is small and flat and dull. Because it’s not and part of me knows that in some small way.
When I was in the midst of my ordeal I found myself in an impossible situation. I told myself, for our children we make the impossible possible. And somehow I got through it and put the bad guy in jail. Now I’m in an impossible situation of another kind.
I am not the same person I was seven years ago and neither are my boys. The snow’s not the same either. But still it falls.