It's the morning after I found out that the border has been closed again, this time until June 22, and I had tickets to fly to Mexico either Jun4 or Jun10. I grew up in Mexico and Uruguay, and have always gone back to one country of origin or the other every year for 44 years. That's since coming to the States as a 17 year old war refugee from Uruguay's Tupamaro War, where I survived a car bombing by a rebel and a torture episode by a government death squad that was fighting the rebels.
The "through line" running as a thread through my whole life since I came to the US as a refugee in 1976 has been for me to stay in touch with life back home by teaching Spanish here in exile. I've earned my living that way for the day that I could return home. What with 2 divorces that drove me into bankruptcy, it has turned out to be harder and to take longer than I thought. But retirement next year beckoned, and I thought my waiting odyssey was over. Apparently not.
I use the word "odyssey" for a reason. The two great epic books by Homer that founded western civilization, the Iliad and the Odyssey, parallel my life as an individual. As a kid I lived through long years of war. In the Iliad, they were 10 years of war at Troy. In my life in Uruguay they were 9: the Tupamaro War for six years from when I was 9 to 15, and then 2 years of Uruguay's 12 year Dirty War that followed. The Dirty War I could escape in the guise of coming up to the States at 17 to go to college by invoking my US passport as a missionary kid born to missionaries who were US citizens. In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his soldiers struggle back across the ocean on a 10 year epic voyage to return home from war that takes as long as the war itself took. In my life, it has taken nearly 4 times as long since 1976. I've been on visits back home every year, visits that have kept hope alive through four decades, but my return home has taken a lot longer than Homer's Odyssey.
In addition to teaching Spanish now, as I've done since 1976, I also teach death and dying classes to community college nursing students. From teaching those classes I myself have learned to accept my own mortality. I reconciled my life-long wait to get back home, then, by saying if I never had been able to make my life back home during these nearly 40 years that have passed, at least I could be back home for when death should come. Closing the circle of life that way would give it all its final meaning after all.
These border closings are causing me to have distressing thoughts that the circle of life may not close for me after all, distressing thoughts that are triggering the stress of my PTSD. The threat of the pandemic that is causing the border closings again and again not only blocks my way home, but it also threatens life here and raises the spectre of my dying away from home in the end. That is an existential hardship for me at a core level of my sense of self.
I've adapted to many things since leaving home in 1976, but never to a loss of hope like this one. I am "mujica" on DS PTSD because, as the true story of the Netflix film A 12 Year Night shows, Uruguay's Pres. Mujica endured prison and torture just like Nelson Mandela of South Africa did so as to emerge and become his nation's leader. After 12 years, Mujica got out of prison and got to go home. I've waited to go home longer than that now, and I'm ready, I've rented a litte house in Mexico. I settled for that and not Uruguay since it's closer, but even the border to get that far keeps getting closed again and again.
This is difficult for me to live with. I was up lying awake half the night trying to figure out how. I haven't come up with anything yet. Support welcome.
Hey, everybody, just wanting to say thanks for getting me through the latest gut punch of another pandemic travel ban. As you all know, I got PTSD growing up in Mexico and Uruguay as a missionary kids with parents who weren't evacuated from a war zone. They got PTSD really bad and turned to violence in the house that sadly matched the violence of the war out in the streets.I wasn't a soldier,...
Hi everyone, I’m new here. Here’s the reader’s digest version, I have PTSD, I’ve gone to therapy for years to deal with the trauma, was on Klonopin to manage my anxiety. After 4 years, and developing coping skills I made the decision with my Dr to stop the klonopin.Well after being off Klonopin for 4 years, I noticed my coping skills weren’t as effective anymore. I reached out saw my Dr...