Hoping you are all hanging in there. I wanted to pop in and give you an update on my birth mother who, as you may remember, suddenly appeared at my front door after my first contact was made 24 years prior. I recently contacted her about doing a DNA test so that she can see with her own eyes that her father was not the man that she believed him to be. It was a relief for her and explained so much about her upbringing. I asked her if I could send her the DNA kit and was saddened by her reply “I don’t think I have that much time”. My birth mother has cancer and from what she wrote, it appears to be terminal. I honestly did not know how to react. I had to search deep within myself to understand what losing her would feel like. My birth mother hurt me so deeply when I contacted her. She implied that I was born of rape and incest (DNA later clarified that was far from the truth) . She was enraged by my contact and acted accordingly. I was stunned and unprepared for her reaction. My heart was broken. Over the course of the years, I dreamt of her (24 years went by without meeting her face to face) and I had actual nightmares where I would see her in my dreams and promptly cover my face in fear that she would recognize me. My birth mother was a ghost in my dreams that haunted me. When she rang my front doorbell two years ago without any warning, I was in shock and somewhat terrified. We sat in my yard for 7 hours. It was surreal and stunning. I was able for the first time since my birth to look into her eyes and face her. I was drawn to her even after enduring 24 years of hurt and pain. I found myself liking her. Over the course of the last two years, we saw each other again one more time. She is funny, has a charismatic personality and although I’ve always remained guarded, enjoyed seeing her. We’ve spoken a few more times. We would never be “close” and I will never be her “daughter” but there is a connection there. I’m struggling with my own feelings. As a compassionate human being, of course I don’t want anyone to suffer with cancer. I saw her twice in 56 years, so not seeing her is the norm. But I had to dig in to understand what her loss would mean to me without overstepping the definition of “daughter”. Writing my birth mother back via text during such a difficult time took deep reflection and forced me to be honest. I needed to write my true feelings, the reasons I looked for her to begin with. Here is what I texted back:
You have been a part of my heart my whole life. Whether I was dreaming of meeting you or recovering from a broken heart. I had to really think about what it would mean to lose you. You are not in my daily life but yet I know you are there. I am grateful that we met. Truly. Living life thinking you hated me was painful. I managed but this peace I now know has been very healing for me. I wanted to know you my whole life. I had nothing but gratitude and love for you. I had to shut down when things went haywire, but I am relieved that I can reach out and text you. I hope that knowing that the horrid man who raised you was not your father has been healing. I’d like to think this is a gift I was able to give you. I’d love to come see you if possible. I’d like to show you the DNA proof that I have that proves you are the daughter of a nice French man from New Orleans. Anyway, thank you. I know I’m only blood and not a “daughter” but I will always think of you fondly and wish you all the best.
I wanted to share this because I know a lot of you may be struggling with your own relationships. I hope this helps in some way to give clarity to the complexities of these “reunions”. I think when we set out to find someone who was separated from us by adoption, the true goal should be to send a message of love no matter the reception we receive. It gives US closure. It allows for us to heal knowing we were true to ourselves. Mind you, this is all just my own perspective.
Stay safe and healthy.