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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jess M

Dear Jess,

Well, pumpkin, it’s been a frustrating couple of years.

Four and a half years ago, when you said “I do” to the man of your dreams, you felt that nothing could go wrong and all possibility lay ahead.

Then it started. The thing you call the gnomes. First the leg pain began and started spreading, like a slow moving river, to your pelvis and then your other leg.

Then, a year or two later, because of the constant pain, your body developed muscle spasms and tremors. Now you are trading in your car for an automatic because your leg is too weak to always work a stick shift. And, damn it, you have always loved the fact you could drive a stick shift. It felt powerful and sexy. But now you’re 32 going on 85, and the future looks beyond bleak and depressing.

You sit and hope, every time you go to one new doctor, that he or she will provide a glimmer of something beyond this life of constant pain killers, fatigue and memory loss. Every new doctor you’ve seen has caused the light to dim so slightly. Every time their arrogance and lack of empathy has struck you to the core and made you question your own sanity. You have tattooed your whole back – hoping to take control and make a choice to have pain. To have that catharsis for even an hour or two.

You constantly worry about your husband deciding to leave you for someone who can live – who can run around with energy and fire. Someone who can have children - something you never may be able to do.

But you must remember that very few people would have handled this situation with your humor and your positive attitude. Other people would grow weepy at the knowledge that he or she might fall asleep in their filet mignon at any time; you call it getting “steak facey” and laugh. You pretend to be Quasimodo when your leg is weak and wander around asking for sanctuary and continue to believe that the right shoes or scarf will make the pain even marginally better.

Sure, you get tired and whiny, but you are persevering. And you’ve refused to give up. Every time a doctor shoots you down and condemns you to live a life that is not really living, you turn to the next possibility.

You’ve learned to stand up for yourself and to give up on people who are hurtful to be around because you now understand the need to protect yourself. Something you never knew how to do before your body needed you to be its shield.

And you will someday accept that your husband, Ryan, loves you dearly - because you make silly jokes and are stubborn and tenacious. BECAUSE you pretend to be a Parisian hunchback when things go bad. “You” haven’t changed just because your body has created limitations. You are still the woman he married, and he still calls you every day to tell you how much he loves you. Here’s a secret: he really does.

The other day a little girl you had never met came up to you and lay her head in your lap with complete trust and love – letting you stroke her hair. While others may have considered it odd, you felt it was a sign of things getting better. The universe telling you it will be okay.

That faith will get you through this and any other battles along the way. Knowing, deep inside, that this MUST end because it has no choice. You have a life you want to live and DAMN IT, it’s about time it got started!




Anonymous said...

Jess, you are so strong that it chokes me up. I am so proud of your grace and optimism and endless joy for life, even when you must feel trapped in your body. Your spirit is so alive and bright. You are the kind of friend who would -- and HAS -- drop anything and sacrifice everything just to help someone else. It frustrates me that the doctors have not been able to help you, and it makes me so sad to see the kind of pain you have gone through, watching you try one solution after another, every time with no less optimism and hope, only to very gracefully accept that this one isn't the solution, but that solution is out there. It breaks my heart to see a woman like you -- who has SO MUCH LOVE to give, and so many incredible ideas, and such motivation and brilliancy -- limited in any way.
But you keep fighting. Holy shit, you keep fighting. You push forward with a SUPERHUMAN strength, and you never stop smiling, and laughing, and spreading joy. I wish there was any way that I could show you how much you mean to me, and how proud I am of you, and how thankful I am for you, and how hard I pray for you every night, just praying for God to set your body free and let you dance again and play and enjoy life without having this shadow looming over you.
You have displayed such grace, such strength, such power, such beauty... Jess, you are my hero, babe, and I couldn't love you any more.
Thank you for sharing this. You are my freaking hero.

jessie b. said...

yes. you ARE strong, and you DO have a life you deserve to live and enjoy. good for you for figuring that out. :)

Anonymous said...

I love your attitude. THAT is beauty. How we handle the things that happen to us, and the smiles we bring others.

Iman Woods Creative said...

Jess, ANYone who can rock a faux humpback as a means of lightening something so debilitating is worthy of SO MUCH!!! Thank you for sharing, and for KEEPING going.

Linda said...

That was one of the most beautiful and beautifully written "letters" I've ever read, equaled only by my cousin Barry's love letter to his father who had just passed away. You are an amazing young woman.

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