In a few weeks, my family and I will be taking our annual vacation to our timeshare condo in Branson, MO. It is likely going to be my last vacation with my family for a long time and I want to enjoy it, but I know it will be hard to do so.
Last year when we went, I refused to go to any of the shows and I am refusing this year as well. I used to like going to the shows, despite the cheesiness and repeat jokes. Since this whole immigration mess began, I have not been able to stomach them.
For those of you who have not been, nearly every show in Branson starts or ends with some sort of a patriotic speech or montage. It is designed to make your heart swell with the pride you feel for being American and the love you feel for your country. I remember when that was my exact reaction.
I sincerely doubt I will ever have such a reaction again. There is a disconnect brought on by the betrayal I feel. My country denied me my ability to attain happiness within its borders; it denied me my family and effectively chased me from my home.
When my husband was denied admission for the final time, I went through a phase of both mourning and relief. I have spoken about the relief previously; today I focus on the grieving. My mourning phase started with feeling stupid; stupid for ever having hoped that my hardship would be sufficient to grant him a waiver, stupid for ever having believed that anyone would see me as being worthy of justice or my husband as being worthy of forgiveness. It moved on from there to this deep feeling of loss over what I had thought my future was supposed to be and the people, places, and events I had pictured in it. Fear set in too. Who would be there for my parents as they grow older? How will I provide for myself in Mexico? How will I pay off my student loans?
Pictures of a future I will never attain flashed in my mind: my parents visiting me at the hospital when I give birth to their grandchild; this figment child standing at the bottom of my driveway, waiting for the school bus; watching my baby cousins grow into adulthood; driving with my husband across the country, showing him all the places I had once loved. I never had these moments, but I mourned their loss just the same.
Now, when I think about my country, my heart doesn’t swell with anything; it feels hollow in the absence of the faith I once had in it and the dreams I dreamt for myself within it. I do not know what faith I have in my new country, but at least I am free to build my dreams there.