This has been a very long road. It hasn’t been just the 32 years that she wouldn’t let me keep my first born daughter. I’ve been angry with Mom since she made Dad go away. Of course she didn’t actually do that , but to a 10 year old girl , it certainly felt like that. Only now am I understanding that He left US. We didn’t fail , he did. As to why he left , I’ll leave that for another day. Today is about my Mom.
They say holding on to anger only poisons you. I have found that to be true. I was so mad at her for my perception that she didn’t love either of us enough to save us. That she could have rescued me , but chose not to. I didn’t see that she simply didn’t have the tools to know what to do.
Mom was with Dad since high school. They are both adopted. She had never been on her own or felt like she was enough. How could she possibly feel she was enough to save her daughter and granddaughter? In my pain I only saw her betrayal and my grief. I didn’t consider the trauma she had been through herself. That everyone she had loved had left her. Adoptees have taught me much.
After I married my lost daughters dad and had her sister, we moved from California to Georgia for his first real job. I was glad to leave, my lost daughter was there and it killed me daily knowing that. I worried about her daily ( hourly ) and this would be a new start. I was only lying to myself. The abuse I had in California came with us to Georgia. It was easier to hide but I was completely alone. Once when he kicked me in the head with his steel toed boots , I didn’t go to the hospital, though I know I needed it. I was terrified they’d take my precious daughter and I had no one to call. I stayed silent.
Shame and silence are companions that protect each other. I struggled to be a good wife and mother and tried to shield my daughter from his fits of rage. He never hurt her and loved her dearly and that was enough. I didn’t matter. I so wanted to prove that I was doing everything well. I wanted the cloak of shame to disappear. It didn’t.
About 17 years ago my mom became too ill to live alone. She moved in with me and my new husband and my daughter and young son. I’d had him shortly before my divorce. Living with the women I felt had destroyed my life was anything but easy. I ranted and sobbed as my lost daughter grew up. I blamed my mom for me never meeting my daughter. I was wrong. It had nothing to do with her and only recently did I discover in therapy that how could I expect forgiveness from my daughter when I wouldn’t grant it to my mom. I had to see my mom as a person , not as the enemy. She moved into assisted living two years ago. I feel that helped a lot. The distance gave me a chance to breathe.
I saw my mom differently as time went on. I saw she loved me dearly and regretted what had happened. I let her love me , finally. That was a huge step for me. Feeling So unlovable is prominent in me. But , I sobbed on her many a night. I am fiercely protective of her as I often felt I had raised her. Dysfunctional much ? Yep.
My moms health is getting much worse of late and fear has grabbed me inside thinking she will soon be gone. I knew I had to fix this Now. She had always loved me and though she wasn’t the mom everyone dreams of in their childhood, she was mine. I’ve watched too many Sisters in Adoptionland find graves. If they could forgive, so could I.
She made quilts for each baby she’d never meet. She atoned as she listened to me wail in primal screams of missing my daughter. She rocked me as I sobbed for what should have been and never will. If I was truly going to own my own story , I could no longer blame her. I accepted my fait and decided I had to find a way.
Her kidneys are now failing and I don’t know how much longer she’ll be here. She has refused all heroic measures. Both of her adopted parents killed them selves. She was abused. She was a victim, too.
I know how hard it is. Our parents are supposed to save us. Mine didn’t. But , they are humans not magical. They make mistakes, some huge. I knew I didn’t need one more ounce of grief and regret. I accepted that she was sorry she didn’t help me. I know it wasn’t out of meanness, but out of not knowing what to do. It took me years to see her as an Adoptee, as one of my Sisters.
As her time here grows to an end , I don’t want it to be full of sadness , but of love. She deserves so much more. I hope I’m up to the task of letting her know that. I’m trying to be more present and not live in the past. It’s very hard when you’ve had the trauma, but she’s worth it. How can I expect both of my daughters to truly love and respect me if I don’t give that to my Mom?
Healing and forgiving are messy and painful. You stumble a lot and it takes time and effort. But , I believe it’s worth it. She is worth it. She has been enough and it’s time she knew it.
I love you Mom. You did your best. You have an amazing legacy and I’m grateful you were in my life all of these years. Don’t go just yet. I’m not done loving you.