Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No one ever said it would be easy

When she called the next night, we talked for quite some time. She shared more details about the accident, how her dad was doing, and some of the drama surrounding extended family as well as the plans they had for the funeral. I just listened and tried my hardest to wrap my head around everything that was going on. Why does life have to be like this? Why does everything have to be so complicated? WHY DID I HAVE TO BE ADOPTED?! I found myself in probably the worst dilemma I had ever faced.

On one hand, I had been trying to reach out to my birth mom for years. I wanted her in my life so bad I could hardly stand it. I called, I wrote, called again, wrote again, called, called, called, wrote, wrote, wrote for FOUR YEARS with no response. I cried buckets of tears over the whole situation and put my family and friends through hell and back all because I wanted her in my life. I had FINALLY got to a point where I was nearing acceptance. I had to. I heard how she felt about me. Even though I didn't believe it, she still said those words. She treated me like crap with no regard to my feelings whatsoever. And now, her mother is gone, she's grieving, she's hurting beyond words...and now she's back, and she wants me in her life.

Not only does she want me in her life, but she wants me to be at the funeral. Not just the funeral, she wants me to attend the "family viewing" and stay for the meal afterwards. Seriously? She had not talked to me in four years. At that point, I still did not know if her son knew that I even existed. I guess I should mention that she also shared with me that my name and my children's names were not included in the obituary because it would possibly complicate things for her dad when he got better. OK... BUT I am supposed to attend the family viewing, family dinner, and funeral? SERIOUSLY?!

I was back at square one. I did not feel at all a part of my biological family. I was denied that at birth, and then again 28 years later. My emotions and thoughts were all over the place. Since my birth mom was grieving, I felt it was not the time or place to share why I was not at all comfortable attending. I wanted to so bad. I wanted to know what had happened the four years she ignored me. I wanted to tell her that if she wanted me to be a part of the family she needed to treat me like I was. If she didn't want my name listed as part of the family that was fine, but please do not expect me to come sit with the family and pretend as if I belonged there. I had pretended to feel like I belonged somewhere my whole life. I was tired of lies, deception and feeling inadequate. I wanted to belong, and this was definitely not it.

So, back to my dilemma. I love her. A lot. I wanted to be there for her. She had hurt me, but I knew she was hurting. I didn't want to leave her hanging like she did me. But, as much as her words said she wanted me there, her actions were not showing that. She was still denying me from being a part of the family. I could be there in body, but my name would not be included in anything.

Now, I realize that it can take a traumatic event to make you wake up and realize that life is too short to live with regrets. But how did I know if this was real? How did I know that she was so distraught she was just reaching out to find something to make her feel better. Anything...even if it was her rejected daughter. I loved her, but I did not know if I trusted her.

I had a major decision to make and I am probably one of the worst decision makers EVER. If it involves solely myself, it's not quite as difficult for me to decide what to do. However, if others thoughts and/or feelings are affected by the decision I have to make, in my head it becomes virtually impossible. It does not matter how big or small it is...what movie to watch or whether or not to attend a funeral can be incredibly tough decisions for me. I worry too much about letting others down. It is a definite character flaw that I have abhorred my entire life. I was at a loss. I was afraid if I didn't go, I may regret it later. But I was also afraid that if I did go, everyone would wonder who I was and why was I there? I did not want to feel rejected and out of place. Not again...I didn't know if I could take it.

I was back on the roller coaster. I couldn't think. I wanted so desperately to find a way out of the situation. Unfortunately, there was not one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Accident

My daughter had a basketball game the day I received my birth mom's message. It was in a different town, so I knew I would be on the road for a while that afternoon. As I was getting the kids ready to head out the door, I kept playing her message over and over in my mind. I was very curious why she was calling. She sounded alright, maybe a little distracted, but I figured something big had to of happened for her to think she needed to break her silence and call. I decided that I should call her before I left and see if she even would answer. For all I knew I maybe missed my chance to talk to her. So, I took a deep breath and called her back.

She answered right away. She sounded different. I didn't know if it was because it had been a while or if it was the situation, but something was different about her. She told me she didn't have a long time to talk, but needed to let me know that there had been an accident at her parents' house. She preceded to tell me the specifics....
In a recent ice storm all of the power in the area where her parents lived was lost. They had a propane heater that had malfunctioned, therefore leading to an explosion that burned their house to the ground. Both of her parents were there when it happened. Her dad was severely burned,flown out of state for care and her mom had passed away in the blast.

I was absolutely speechless. Literally, I did not have any words. There was just a long silence. My heart was broken for her for so many different reasons. The accident was horrific. Losing someone you love is hard, but such tragic circumstances seemed to make it that much worse. I also knew that she and her mom were very, very close. Her mom was her best friend. She talked to her about everything. I knew she was devastated.

It took me a minute to finally choke up the words, "I'm so sorry." That was all that I could say. She was crying, but very calm. I could hear a lot of talking in the background. She told me that she was at her parents' house with her sisters trying to find a fireproof safe with documents in it so she needed to go, but would call me when she got home later that evening. She told me she loved me and then hung up.

I was still in a state of shock. I could not believe what had happened. The accident, the phone call, her voice, her telling me that she loved me. I was so confused and so sad. I cried for her, for her family, for myself. After a moment, I got myself back together and headed out the door to my daughter's game.

For the rest of the day, I could not stop thinking about the conversation. Had it really happened? Was her mom, my grandma, really gone? Why did she call me? Why did she think I needed to know? Was she even going to call me back like she said?

For obvious reasons, I was not expecting a call that night. Given the fact that she had not returned one of my calls in years, coupled with the turmoil she was going through, it was a logical conclusion. And I was right. She didn't call. She sent me a text: "I am so sorry for not calling tonight like I promised I would. I got in later than I thought. I will call you tomorrow." And she did.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And the story continues to unfold....

Fast forward to a month after sending the letter to my birthmom. It is now the end of January of 2010. For the first time in the nearly 4 years since being out of contact with my birth mom, I felt that I was at a better place. I had finally reached a point where I realized that my life would not include my biological mother. Did I still think about her? Of course. Was I still disappointed things were not different? Definitely. I still felt the loss, but the sting was finally starting to numb. I had a family of my own that needed me to be the best I could be. So, I was doing just that...trying to be my best.

That all changed one Saturday, when I received a call from my birth mom. When I saw it was her, I immediately shut down. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to answer the phone, but a huge part of me was saying -- 'NOOOOOOO!!!". "What in the world could she want?" "She hasn't called you in 4 years!" "You are FINALLY beginning to cope without her." -- Needless to say, I didn't answer it, but she left a message. I waited a couple of hours to listen to it. I'm not sure why I waited so long. I guess I was trying to prepare myself, but I have no idea what for. When I finally listened to it, this is what she said:

Hi. It's me. I was just calling to tell you that there has been
an accident at mom and dad's and I felt like I needed to tell
you about it. Please call me as soon as you can. I'll talk to
you later. Bye.

So...what do you think happens next? I asked myself a hundred questions after listening to her message several times. I will post the details within the next couple of days. Wondering when the drama will end? Me too! ::Sigh::

Friday, June 11, 2010

Moving on

What could I do other than move on with my life? She had not been a part of my life for a few years, and the chance phone conversation we had obviously gave me quite a bit to think about.

I played the conversation over and over in my head. The more I thought about it, the less I understood why she said all of the things that she said about me to her friend. It was like she was talking about a completely different relationship...not ours. The things she said were not even true. We talked on the phone often, but at random times throughout the day...not way late so I was keeping her up. She usually came to visit me instead of the other way around because of her family at home. She always told me it was easier that way. I am not sure what she meant about not telling my family about her. It was difficult, but I told them about her before I ever started my contact with her.

I was beyond confused, but had no choice other than to move on. I had wanted to know what happened, why she stopped all contact with me...I got my answer. Not at all what I wanted to hear, but it was an answer.

I am pretty good at hiding my feelings. I had years of practice, so it really didn't take much effort to muster up a smile and act like everything was OK. Any spare time that I had, I filled it with other tasks to keep my mind busy. The key was to stay as busy as possible so I didn't have time to think. If I didn't have time to think, I didn't have time to feel. That was the plan, at least. However, this was different. It was much more difficult than I thought.

The fact that I was rejected by my birth mom for the second time hurt me to the core. No matter how hard I tried to bottle it up and stuff it as deep as I could, the reality was still there. Every time I looked at one of my own kids, I wondered "how could a mother reject her own child?". I understood the adoption part of it...she was young, she thought she was doing the right thing by me. I got that. I had accepted that. But to be given a second chance, just to reject me again was like a slap in the face. I started questioning myself and wondering what was wrong with me. Why didn't she want me? What made me so unlovable?

A couple months had passed and still no word. You would think, by now, I would not be holding on to the hope that she would call or write. She had proven to me that she was not interested. She had completely bashed me and our relationship to a new friend of hers, but there I was...still waiting, wondering if today was going to be the day.

After talking to my bf's one day, I finally got the push that I needed. I was forced into reality and realized that I had 3 babies of my own that needed me. I had been so depressed and so hurt by everything that had happened, that I was not the mother that my own children deserved. It was time for a change. As much as it hurt, as hard as it was, I HAD to let her go. So, I sat down and wrote her a letter.

I can't remember everything that I wrote about. I told her that it would be the last letter or form of contact that she received from me. I took the comments that she had made in her letter into consideration as I wrote it, mentioning several false accusations she had mentioned. It wasn't an angry letter, but it was very honest and straight forward. I mentioned feeling hurt about the things that I heard her say. I told her that if she would have voiced her thoughts and feelings to me, we maybe wouldn't have got to the point we were at. I told her that I was hurt, but needed closure to the situation so I was basically saying good-bye. I told her from that point forward, the ball was in her court. I had tried and tried to force a relationship that she obviously resented and I was done. I wanted her in my life, but I didn't have anything left. I fought for four years, and received nothing...not one letter, one phone call, absolutely nothing.

It was around Christmas when I wrote the letter and for some reason I felt compelled to include our photo Christmas card. She had not seen my 3 year old and 9 month old before. I had withheld sending pictures with any letters I wrote her while we weren't talking. It was really just my way of controlling the situation as much as I could. Crazy, but true. In order to truly move on, I felt like I needed to let go of my anger towards her and the situation as much as possible. I guess the pictures were a peace offering of sorts.

I read the letter twenty times, at least, before I finally sealed the envelope and dropped it in the mail. As I dropped it in the mailbox, I did feel a small glimmer of hope as I walked away. I hoped that maybe she would find it in her to want to call me. Maybe something I said in the letter would move her just enough to want to reconcile our relationship.

Hope was the only thing that kept me going. Others may think of it as a weakness...pathetic, ridiculous, naive..whatever you want to call it. However, for me, hope was the one thing that no one could take from me. When I found myself in the darkest moments of my life, all I could do was hope for a sunnier tomorrow. So that is what I did.