Honoring My Friend

Thanksgiving Day. So many unexpected blessings this year. As I prepared for our day of gluttony and joy, the excitement for my family’s favorite holiday came to a stand still as the calls started pouring in. Everything went quiet, the unthinkable. We lost another one, but this time it was my friend.

We grew up together, attending the same schools, moving in different circles. I wish we had known each other then, before our lives intersected just over two years ago. She found me during one of those moments. To understand the ‘moments’, one would have to walk in her shoes. She knew I had lived a life quite parallel to hers, and she was grieving, the kind of grieving that can only be understood by mothers that have lost their children to adoption. The haunting that never disappears, even though our agency promised us it would. The kind of grieving that can only be understood by someone else that lost their mothers at birth. There are many adoptee’s on this earth, and there are many mothers that have lost children, but there aren’t many that are unfortunate enough to be both. Finding one another was a gift because no one else understands what it means.

She wanted to find her son. So, I found him. I had a photo of his home, his address, and helped her compose the letter. But, the fear of his possible rejection paralyzed her. God bless her, she just couldn’t do it. She missed him every day. The world sees these experiences as beautiful, brave, and selfless. But, it’s killing us. I’ve watched members of Our Tribe dropping out of the race, giving up from the exhaustion. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/09/04/peds.2012-3251 

Until the lens everyone insists on using, shifts to the trauma left in the wake of adoption, we will continue to lose our own to the claws that keep pulling us under. To lose our first family uproots and disconnects us. Untethered, we are no longer part of something primal. We don’t belong. So, we make our way, fighting through the lies we are forced to live. The lie that family is interchangeable. The lie that biology doesn’t matter. The lie that we are resilient enough. The lie that we should be grateful for something we never asked for; no one asked our permission, but I’m 100% certain that every infant would choose to stay with their mother. No one asked Tracy if she wanted to spend several years in the foster system, and no one ever asked Tracy if she wanted to be separated from her biological siblings and family at such a young age. Right then, at that very moment, something broke in her. From that point forward, everything was a major accomplishment, and I’m so proud of her.
I see a pattern when we lose someone we love in such a confusing, senseless manner. I see words being used to help us understand the loss; how and why this happened. What could we have done differently? What did we miss? Strewn across the screen- ‘depression’, ‘mental illness’, ‘selfish’, ‘demons’..etc. But, for Tracy, it was none of them, sometimes it was some of them, but mostly, it was avoidable. Of course she had those battles to fight! It’s so unfair and I’m angry. I’m angry that I’m not shocked, and I’m angry that her precious children have to add this chapter to their story. I’m so sad that her grandson, the joy of her life, won’t feel her warm hugs. She was a wonderful mother. She loved her husband. She was such an encouraging, loyal friend. Her pain gave her great empathy for others. She was so loved and she will be terribly missed. I love you, Tracy. Thank you for finding me. I’m so sorry.

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