I wrote about needing closure not long ago.
So, how’s that closure going?
I did indeed take down all the pictures of my daughter. In fact, I only had one picture of my mother in the house, and have taken that down as well. It has helped tremendously. Not a cure for my unresolved grief, but there aren’t the constant reminders of pain. I placed them in a box in a basement closet. Certainly, I would attempt to rescue them in case of a fire. I guess I have literally and figuratively “compartmentalized” my adoption experience.
I also decided that since adoption feels so much like experiencing a family death, I needed a place to mourn, like a grave site. I chose a place far back on our property near the lake. It is a peaceful clearing, but one that I have to go out of my way to reach. Again, I don’t want the unsolicited reminders. I created a “headstone” through an Amazon provider with the name I was going to give my daughter; Augusta Isabella. For those really tough days, I sit by her stone and talk to her.
I’ve come to realize over the last 8 months, without any communication with my daughter, that the baby I once held is not the young adult starting her own life. The baby I carried, placed so many hopes and dreams upon, and briefly cradled, would have been a vastly different person with different experiences than who she is in reality. I would have instilled a different set of morals. She would have experienced a different culture, faith, and social/political atmospheres. So in a sense, the child I birthed has indeed passed away. I was never given validation to mourn the loss of that child. No family member sent a card of condolence. No memorial service was held. She was the dark secret that everyone knew about, but didn’t dare speak. I am taking this time for me now. I am allowing myself to mourn her loss. I am giving myself validation for being a perfectly normal mother who has felt the void in her heart for 17 years. I look back now and realize the perversion that my younger self was put through.
I could never make sense as to why I couldn’t just “move on.” What was wrong with me? Why did I obsess over the pain of losing a child? Nothing at all was wrong with me.
My husband and I lost our first child together. She was a stillborn who passed away from a rare chromosomal disorder. It took me years to bring myself to getting pregnant again. The guilt over my adopted daughter was so overwhelming. Then I do, and we lose her. Believe me, the “you deserve this” thoughts were fierce. Strange thing is, people came out of the woodwork to offer their condolences. Of course, they were appreciated, but this wasn’t my first time around at losing a child. But if felt no different. In fact, leaving one daughter to lie in her grave forever more, has somehow been easier than adoption. I know that probably sounds counterintuitive. My knees failed me. My husband had to catch me and carry me off to the car. The guilt and sorrow of leaving a deceased child in a cemetery is unfathomable. Somehow I felt like I was abandoning this lifeless little girl.
As hard as that was, over the last 6 years, I have come to a place of peace over her death. I will never be ok with her not living and breathing. But, I knew in that circumstance, that I was not at fault. She had a disease, it ran its course, and she succumbed to it. I did, as a mother, what I was supposed to have done. There is a closure with her death that I will never have with my eldest daughter’s adoption.
Adoption, to me, is far worse than death. There is no closure. Whether you keep in contact or not through the years, there is always a reminder of what in reality you are missing. It started with her firsts. First crawl, first steps, first booboo, first birthday. It progressed to dance classes, piano lessons, elementary graduations. Its now at the place for me of school dances, college prep, and driver’s licenses. I know to come there will be college graduation, first real job, engagement, marriage, grandchildren. There is always a reminder of what was taken away in that moment she was taken from my arms. There are always pictures and memories that have put one mother in place of another.
My daughter was cut out of my family tree and grafted onto another.
I have yet to experience another cut so deep. An open, fleshy wound that never heals. So, yeah, what was I saying about closure?