I was adopted, like allot of people, but my story isn’t like anyone’s. I was an inter-family adoption taken home at 4 days old to be raised as the youngest of 7 children. My parents were kind and older, and I loved them both. When I was 13 I was told that one of my sister’s was my birth mother. Luckily, I really adored her in the first place, and the transition to this idea was difficult but not impossible. My adopted mother/grandmother died when I was 15. My bio mom had serious issues with alcohol and prescription drugs, which she successfully battled and our relationship truly began to blossom when I was 25 having my first baby and she was to become Grandma – or Nana as the kids called her.
She was my dear friend and soulmate. There aren’t enough words to tell you how grateful I am for her. She was a great spiritual teacher always assuring me that “this too shall pass”, and hold on “one more day”…when things got rough, she was my 2 o’clock in the morning person. The only person alive that would truly relish my rebellious nature, love when I stepped outside of the box, and cheer when I forged new paths. She loved my weirdness and all my edges. She loved everything about me and her love taught me how to love myself. I felt most at ease with her than any other person in my life. Loosing her physical presence has been very difficult.
I remember the day she called to tell me she had lung cancer, I ran to her apartment and fell into her hug and only then, only then, realizing that we fit perfectly together . Why had I not noticed this before? I remember the smell of her, and the warm safe feeling when she was anywhere near. If anyone crossed us or said anything that would cause either of us pain – she tore into them like a pit bull. She was a woman to be reckoned with. Until she died I didn’t realize how much she had protected me.
Here we are two years later, and the grief still tears at me – it doesn’t go away – it just changes shape. Each day remembering her and thinking about all the things I should have done or said or been or whatever – all useless thoughts or regret that have no purpose except to torture me. I hear her words reverberating through my head each day – the ones she said to me through sad chemo sick eyes –
“No guilt OK?”.
OK Mama no guilt.
But I didn’t call her “Mom” – there’s my first issue. I couldn’t. It just seemed too bizarre – she had been her name to me all my life – and so if I called her mom this would mean I had no brothers or sisters, or that my parents were my grandparents – just unreal. When I lived in Africa with her and would want her to say yes to one of my unreasonable teenage requests – I would call her “Mom” – “Please mom…” I could feel the word dripping off my tongue like something that didn’t belong there.
I never thought about my biological father very much – he was like a super hero in my mind. Bad-ass bike riding tough guy from the rough side of town was the story i heard. He was handsome and leather clad in my minds eye, sitting on his bike waiting to whisk my mother away from our overly conservative family. I was indeed a love-child. And his genetic presence in my body made me understand that although I was a rich kid from boarding sch0ols when I was younger, I was in my heart a bike riding, freedom loving rock and roll rebel chick. The small amount of history I had on him showed me that my proclivities didn’t come from no where – although I couldn’t really see how having a penchant for bikers and bad boys was genetic – all indications seemed to point to the fact that it was.
After my mother died two years ago, I began to become curious – maybe hopeful – that i still had a parent out there. My adopted family had stopped “pretending” I was really one of them, and I was left pretty much empty of family, except for one sister who helped to raise me and could see me as none other than her sister – “give me back my sweater – hey did you borrow my make-up??!”…is just not something you yell at your niece. I think they were all just tired of pretending.
The issue of adoption and being adopted came up during the course of my grieving, and it became suddenly important for me to find out if I had genetic links to anyone else out there. So I registered on a few free web sites what small information I had on my father, never expecting to get a response – especially not the response I got.
I was contacted by a lady named Annie who is a search angel. I don’t know her story, but I assume that many of these ‘search angels’ are people who have been searching for their own parents or children and have become pretty good at spotting links between people and volunteer their time.
Her email to me began tentatively, because she was concerned with her accuracy and didn’t want to cause me undue pain. She says “I’m sorry the news isn’t better. if this is indeed your father, he died when he was 23”.
Stop world. You’re spinning.
below her note a series of lists, with my grandfathers names and notably my grandmother Fanny. No obituary for my dad, only my grandfathers.
I felt it first in my gut – like a punch from deep inside.
The second thing I thought was – oh my god – he was so young…
I thought about my own son, now nearing 23, beautiful handsome and sweet and full of life, joy and potential. My heart ached for the young man who made me in a flurry of passion only to leave me as his only legacy. I am the most enduring thing he did in this life.
As the news sinks in all I can think of is…
“I’d better not waste a flipping minute! ”
I don’t know about you, but as I get older, now almost 50, I see that there is a plan in the works, and although i am not privy or capable of understanding its intricacies, i am definitely part of the story.
In my research for this book, on adopted people, I have discovered that we all (adopted and non-adopted!) have amazing stories, like great adventures, each life is like a fascinating book. I can see my life and yours like that – and I believe its the only way we can really learn to increase our capacities and purpose here in this life – find out, dig deep and don’t stop asking questions. Be brave.
I have just returned from Australia where I spent some time in the desert with first peoples learning about the long long history of the worlds oldest genetic lineage. I learned about the connection between living people and their ancestors and how important it was for them to honour the lives of their ancestors. Al of this is driving home to me the need to honour my own in the same way. I wish we had the stories like they do – so I could know them better, and in turn know myself better. I think the purpose of life is to know yourself as well as possible so you can use everything you have to be of service.
It is a courageous journey to take into the center of yourself, to ask the real questions that are begging for answers…
I will continue work on the book – in the hopes that other people can find their purpose, their center or their story and not feel so unrelatable or different or alone. We are all connected in some freaky quantum way, and I feel him now, beside me smiling. he is happy with me, and maybe even lives abit of my life with me, connected and guiding me from he inside, through my thoughts and dreams. Parents don’t stop being parents when they die – but its up to us to stay tuned in and be brave enough to hear their messages.
As I write this – the only song I hear in my head is
“All you need is love…”