My “come to Jesus” moment regarding why adoption is a part of my life came to light about 3 weeks ago in a funeral home of all places. Ironic…or fate? Ironic maybe because many mothers of adoption loss liken their experience with adoption to a living death..a sentiment I agree with. Was it fate? I like to think so because in short amount of time the reasons, the whys and the hows came flooding back as if the Hoover Dam burst right then and there and drowned me alive.
Let me back up this up a little and explain so maybe it makes sense to you and quite possibly to me as well. A death occurred in my extended family, I happened to find out about it via a post on social media ..I guess that is the new etiquette rule ..it is not official unless someone posts something on Facebook. Going against my better judgement I attended the wake knowing full well that being around my family is akin to walking into a forest of hungry bears and wolves wearing nothing more that a raw meat dress. However I am always a believer that family is family no matter what and a small act of kindness at your lowest point is always appreciated..I would hope that some day the gesture if and when required is reciprocated but I honestly doubt that would happen. The moral of the story is that I went to show support and I walked away asking myself….WHY? I have been in therapy for 15 years ..my therapist has told me I owe my family absolutely nothing and yet I feel that tether and the obligation to pay respects no matter what (again WHY WHY WHY)
You might be thinking what does attending a wake have to do with my journey into adoption..allow me to set the scene. I walked into the funeral home along with my daughter, whom I bribed to go with me by promising dinner out afterwards at her favorite burger joint . I found myself armed with a false security that my family tends to behave when she is with me and hence the reason I stopped so low to beg her to come along. Up until now I was able to shield my children from the reality of what my family is like by keeping them far far away and only exposing them during happier times or in short spurts. This tactic seemed to work and also allowed me to remain kind when I spoke about my aunts and cousins…however the time arrived and my poor girl was sucked down the rabbit hole while trying to pay her respects for one lost.
Sitting front and center and holding court was my 87 year old Aunt. Most 87 year olds have mellowed out and can be cute and funny..not my aunt, she is just as miserable at 87 as she was at 57..although when she was 57 I did not see it quite that way. i walked over to where my aunt was perched on her chair, said hello and attempted to make enough small talk to keep the conversation light and drama free. We talked about how good she looks..she really really does, 87 with barely a wrinkle on her face..a phenomenon I swear I attribute to the fact that my aunt feasts on the souls of the children born into our family that she sucks out and keeps in a jar somewhere in her house. She told me she may be 87, but she feels like she is 20..the bitch is going to outlive me I swear.
In our brief conversation, we talked about how both her son who is my maternal first cousin and I have done the Ancestry.com DNA tests. A very safe topic I was thrilled to talk about..however… my aunt explained that DNA was not correct..that her mother/my grandmother was actually almost full blooded native American,born in Arizona and moved to Canada (ah no..I found the grandmother’s birth certificate and she was english and Irish with some French and M’KqMaq born in New Brunswick and raised in Nova Scotia) told me some false information about my father that I was like well ok I actually found the real information out..and then says to me..what happened to you? I saw you 2 years ago at M’s funeral and you looked great, you lost a ton of weight..it looks like you gained it all back because you got fat again. If looks could have killed when I explained that a) 2 years ago I was very very sick (pericarditis and pleurisy as a result of Lupus) and b) why yes I have gained back some weight, however I am only up 2 sizes and I have been on prednisone for quite some time..she says maybe you should get sick again it was better for your waist line. Now if that does not tip the scales of insanity what happened next might just explain it all..
My aunt turns to my absolutely beautiful daughter and says “Your mother posts all kinds of pictures on facebook of you from your dancing..I print the pictures out and have them on my wall”. My daughter is looking at me like OKAAAY… Aunt then says to my daugher..”You look just like my sister Madeline (my mother) do you know who that is?” My daughter explains of course she knows who Madeline is (my mother died when I was 17 and of course they never knew her so I understand that she is simply a theoretical person to them that is natural)..my aunt goes on to say “I hated my sister Madeline. God was she ugly when she was younger and she never really got any better looking”. So my aunt is sitting there telling my child she looks just like her grandmother whom my aunt hated and thought was ugly..bitch. At this point I walk away before I explode thinking my aunt will calm down..go say hello to a cousin and my poor daughter texts..SAVE ME.
My aunt is telling my daughter that I hated my mother (who died by the way when I was 17 years old from lung cancer..I am now 48) because my mother was poor. She told my daughter that I was ashamed of the fact that I lived in the projects and I only wanted to be with my Aunt H who had money. Supposedly I am a nothing more than a gold digger who has nothing to do with them because they do not have money. AND THAT WAS MY MOMENT..I felt small and demoralized ..I felt unsupported and hated and the worst part was my daughter..my beautiful daughter was sucked down the rabbit hole the one thing I worked so hard to avoid for almost 29 years since I had my first child.
Here is the thing..I realized at 19 years old when my first born child came into this world and I was for all intents and purposes alone that I wanted nothing more than to shield him and protect him from THAT negativity and THOSE toxic people. I already felt like an absolute failure by getting pregnant in the first place and if I stayed ..if I had to raise my boy in that environment it would have destroyed the 2 of us slowly but surely.
That is how Darth Jarol entered my life..that is how I mistook what seemed like a gesture of kindness (and I think there was some kindness there on some level) how I saw stability and sanity and everything my family lacked and confused it with doing the right thing. I was protecting my baby with every fiber of my being..I was protecting him from a woman who knew I was on public assistance (something I am not proud of) trying to survive and who would wait for the mailman and cash my check and take every penny I had for my baby ..including the ability to buy diapers and say oh well i needed the cash. How was I supposed to survive in an environment like that? Actually I am not sure if I even considered myself..how was my baby supposed to survive? The dysfunction, the negativity and the toxic interactions bubbled over like witch’s brew waiting to poison anyone caught up in that horrible web. I left because I needed to get healthy and clean from them..and my baby was my biggest casualty. When Darth Jarol invited us to stay it was with the intention that I would see just how incapable I was at being a mother..and she was right at the moment …however the point is every mother whether she is 15 or 45 the first time she delivers a baby is inexperienced and incapable..motherhood is a learning curve.
If my family had been supportive and loving ..if my family was not prone to stealing and lying maybe my son would never have been lost to adoption..but FEAR …the fear of being just like them..just like my family rattled me to my bones ..being destitute and homeless scared me and there was no way I wanted to raise my son in the projects. There was no way my son was going to have to shake his backpack every day to get the roaches out and there was no way my son needed to live in an environment where the upstairs neighbor was a dangerous schizophrenic who had outbursts at 4 AM and kept the building awake and threatened him in the hallways…there was no way I wanted my son raised in a place where there were dead mice in couch cushions and maggots in the trash outside or people setting cars on fire in the alley outside your bedroom door. My son deserved better..sadly I thought Darth Jarol was the answer not me.
So 3 weeks ago all those feeling came flooding back..the positive is I know why they hate me..it boils down to the fact they hated my mother ..the negative is I am feeling the angst and the guilt and yeah the anger of why I had to lose my beautiful baby boy..why another woman who is not his mother got to parent him and was able to cast me aside like a piece of trash once she got what she wanted. I blame myself mostly for all that happened .but in that funeral home ..at that wake I came face to face with the grim reaper of my soul….oh and my daughter? She NEVER wants to interact with my aunt again ..she could not wait to get out of the parking lot ..her first words to me? “That woman is a **** (yes she used the dirty C word ..no I do not approve and no I did not correct her) she said Mom that woman called me ugly and she called you a fat, ugly, gold digger we so don’t need that in our lives” ..truer words have never been spoken.