Thanksgiving this year echoed the weather, which was insane. The only type of weather we didn’t have was snow.
Likewise, there were emotional highs and lows. Between the dogs and family and the bird and the family and the family, things got pretty crazy. But things really didn’t go Bad until after most everyone had left. Michael and his dogs were staying over. Jesse was staying over. Jesse’s girlfriend Kate was over. At one point, Linda gave Michael a big hug – the type that produces those “aaaahh” pops in the spine. And rendered Michael paralyzed. Linda first thought he was joking when he cried out in pain, and I think she did it again, and only then realized that he’d collapsed and she was the only thing keeping him from falling down. We got him maneuvered to the chair and eased him down into it, and for the next half hour or so, he tried to get mobility back into his left arm and tried to get his back to stop spasming, wiping the tears from his eyes with his right hand.
Linda was, well, upset really doesn’t describe what I saw. Twenty-some years of guilt and pain and regret were written on her face, encapsulated in one moment, in one act. Every bad decision. Every day she stayed with Jesse’s father after he became violent.
Michael’s back is fucked up. Looks like it’s from early trauma, like when this man would throw Michael repeatedly against the wall. Michael’s in the air force now, and it looks like the military docs are doing as little as possible, for as little cost as possible, to address the situation. No MRI or x-rays needed, it’s only a back injury.
Jesse, well, the last time Jesse saw his father was at age four. His father had been insisting on visiting rights, not because he wanted to see his kid, but because he knew that it upset Linda. I can’t even start to imagine what it must be like to know that your father could do these things, DID do these things.
So, there’s scars – physical scars that Michael will be dealing with the rest of his life, emotional scars that all three of them, that also will always be there. We give thanks this day for all the things that have made us what we are.
Thank you for pain.
For heated anger.
For cold rage.
For powerlessness in the face of violence.
And above all, thank you for overwhelming, pitiless guilt.
Thank you so much.