Monday, December 11, 2006

All that You Can't Leave Behind

We found out that E selected us to be her baby’s adoptive parents on a September afternoon. That night, it occurred to me that my Grandma D would never meet my children. I don’t know if it was the height of my emotional state to begin with, but this thought made me very sad. There is always the hope that she sees my family from heaven. I thought about it that way to get back to the joy I really wanted to feel that night.

A couple of years later, Emma’s Grandma and Grandpa D came to stay with us for a visit. It was the spring after Allison was born. Dad brought his kite and hoped to interest his eldest granddaughter in it. It didn’t quite work out that way. I saw him flying his kite in the backyard by himself and I went outside and played with him. While we were flying his kite, we talked about Grandma D. It wasn’t until then that I knew that Dad was mad at her in a way. He was mad at her for losing the will to live when there could have been more life ahead. Although she had heart problems, she wasn’t debilitated. Her quality of life was good for her age. He didn’t say so, but I think there was a sense of abandonment. It must be weird to think that your mother would rather die than live on with you.

Her Bad Mother wrote a post about death that touched me. The gorgeous pictures of her daughter drove the point home. It’s hard for me to imagine being at a place where I wanted to die. Especially after I became a mother, I think of death in terms of what I’ll be missing my children do. If I’m lucky, what will I be missing my grandchildren do? I can’t imagine my life without them; but, every child has to come to terms with living part of their lives without their parents. It’s the cycle of life.

It’s interesting that my thoughts about Grandma and flying that kite with my Dad are that I can’t understand not wanting to be with my family. In reality, it wasn’t all that long ago when I was begging God to take me home and then despairing that He wouldn’t help me because, if I left, no one else would love my baby. There have been times since those early days of Ally’s life when I would start to panic just thinking about those days. I could relive the misery as if time had stopped and I was still there with a screaming demon at my breast. That woman wearing her husband’s thick green robe, feeling utter hopelessness as she rocks her peaceful, sleeping baby at 3am, is a stranger to me now. I forgive her. I regret that she had to live like that for even a minute. I feel compassion for her. I love her dearly. Still, she is not me. She never was.

Grandma, if you are looking down from the heavens and having a whiskey and water with Uncle Randy, I forgive you. I regret the moments we could have shared with my children. I love you dearly. I want you with me. Most of all, I want you to see that I’ve found my way home.


Trista said...

I'm really glad that you are making writing a priority again. This is really beautiful, and thought provoking. Thank you.

her bad mother said...

This has brought tears to my eyes. So beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it.