The Past

Published August 5, 2018 by maryleesdream

lonely

 

Last night, I woke in the middle of the night, and I felt such fear and dread.  I sought the root of the feeling, and could not find it.  I remembered that I have always felt this, and that the feeling has no name.  I also remembered that it will pass.  It will return, and it will go away again.  I think we all have these feelings.  It’s the human condition.

When I think back on my childhood, I cannot find any happy memories.  None.  The whole thing is colored a dark grey, by my adoption.  Losing my mother, and never being allowed to even speak of it, colored my life.

No family. No one. Nothing. Every day, all day.

I could not wait to escape from my adoptive parents house.  I met my husband when I was 16.  Someone who could save me, and make me whole.

“But, your adoptive parents loved you.  They did not abuse you! They raised you!”.

I know. I was there.  They tried, but I was so hurt.  I could not feel their love.  Their love was spoiled for me, because it came at the expense of my real family.  I should not have been put in such an impossible position.  I could not accept the love of the ones who I felt were responsible for my loss.

Did they really love me?  I suppose so.  I was a good enough child.  But, I was not, and could never be their child.  They had to maintain the illusion that I was.  They did not tell anyone that I was adopted.  It was a hidden family secret, one that I dared not speak of.

How I hated the phrase, “when we got you”.  Got me? I wanted “when you were born”.  I wanted my mother to tell the story, of my birth, not the story of these  strangers who somehow, “got me”.

Even as a young child, I felt this way.

It was a lost cause, from the start.  I was broken, unable to be fixed.  On my own, from the start.  I had to turn my heart to stone.

I remember, being at my Auntie Irene’s house, during the long hot summers when I was 6 & 7.  There were 4 older kids there, my adoptive cousins.  They did not like me much.  The feeling was mutual, but I was at a disadvantage.  I was all alone, and they had each other, as well as their real parents, and I was an unwelcome guest in their home.  My adoptive parents sent me there so they could both work full time during the summer.

I used to lie awake in my borrowed bed, listening to my adoptive uncle’s snores and will my heart to be hard, like a stone so I would not feel the pain of being left alone, again.  I locked my self in the bathroom, and said every curse word I knew.

I went home on weekends, and never told my adoptive mother any of it.  I never told her the sex games my cousins would play either.  I finally told her when I was an adult, and she said, “why didn’t you tell me”.  Sigh.

Would I have sadness if I hadn’t been adopted?  I’m sure.  My real mother had issues.  I still loved and needed her.

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3 comments on “The Past

  • In the first days following the surrender of my son, likely still carrying whatever sedatives they gave me in the hospital, I would wake up feeling like I never lost my son. Then my peace would be crushed by the sudden dark agony of reality, like being crushed with a tombstone. Oh my God! My baby boy is lost! I don’t know where or how he is! This haunted me day and night. But most clearly in my dreams if searching from one front lawn to another in a beautiful neighborhood to ask the parents holding their newborns out front if their child was mine. Like the needle in the haystack, I never found him in my dreams/nightmares; it was the panic of having lost my son and the dreadful realization that my constant maternal longing would forever be my new normal.

    Fast forward 22 years my email correspondence with my lost and found son: “The answer to your question of how I found your identity is complex. For the first 10 months of your life I knew you only as Matthew, the name I had given you at birth. After that time I searched for and found your new identity. I could not continue without knowing how and where you were. A separation of mother and child is not a natural state and it was very difficult for me to endure. I tried a couple of times while you were young to open up the adoption (meaning we could know eachother) to no avail. I have contacted you now after waiting until you matured. You seem like a fine young person and I am so glad to learn you are well in life.
    You’ve not yet asked the big question of “why” but I have the need to provide an answer. I want you to know that I did not want to surrender you. The majority of my pregnancy was filled with sorrow and tears over the impending adoption. However, I felt it was the only thing I could do to ensure that you’d have a stable upbringing with both a mother and a father present in your life. From the age of 8 onward I suffered greatly from my parents divorce and my father’s absence. I did not want to bring you, the child I loved with all my heart, into a similar situation of pain and struggle. I felt very strongly that you deserved more. But I did not know enough about life at the time to understand that adoption does not necessarily ensure a child’s security or freedom from pain. Parents are parents as people are people and we all are at risk of making decisions that negatively affect our children. I have processed a lot of my grief over the years but my biggest regret in life remains having not parented you. I feel it is important that you know this.
    And equally curious was one of the first things he chose to share with me about himself was “I have always carried a certain amount of sadness with me. Not what I would call depression, though I think I have been through some of that before, mostly when I was younger and more confused, but something I like to call an appreciation for sadness. It’s like when you look at something beautiful, there is the beauty, but then, for me, there is always something else about the beauty that is sad. Most beautiful things have always had elements of sadness in them for me. It’s a specific feeling (and I know this is pretty vague), and it is uncomfortable in a certain kind of way, but I have always appreciated it, and I have always related to it. It has always struck me as a profound and deeply true thing about the world. It’s a kind of lonely thing – I’ve thought about this a lot – and it’s possible that there is something in the feeling itself that encourages its own presence in my mind. I think depression, and negative feelings of this kind in general, are often self-fulfilling and self-encouraging. This is not a feeling that happens a lot – indeed sometimes I wish it’d happen more – no more than listening to a good song or remembering some moment in time can instill in one a specific feeling. It’s just to me this feeling may be my favorite. And when I feel it, above all others, I feel alive. That kind of sadness has always made the world feel magical to me.”
    It’s what he first knew: in the womb, the sound of my constant crying and sobbing; and then after being born and losing touch, completely, with those familiar yet sorrowful sounds. I often wonder if this is evidence that our two experiences are connected in this way.

    • My dear mother was described by the social worker as, “weeping” when she handed me over. I’m sure she wept throughout her pregnancy as well. Maybe our shared sorrow causes my sadness. I know we both suffered from our losses.

      Thank you for commenting on my post.

      • Thank you for your blog. It helps others. I am so sorry you and your mother have had to endure this pain in your lives.

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