"There’s a pain that sleeps inside
Sleeps with just one eye
And awakens, the moment that you leave
And I search through every face
Without a single trace, of the person
The person that I need"–
One of the most profound things I have ever heard from an adoptee friend was the rationale behind her fear of meeting her first mother. Quite simply my friend said she was afraid she would “disappear”. After all, the last time she was in her mothers arms, as her true, real, first, birthed self, she did indeed “disappear”. The person she was born as, the person she was disappeared into the puff of smoke known as closed adoption. She, her, the infant born, was erased and a new person was reborn. New name, new mommy, new birth certificate. Gone is her original self.
Yeah, she did indeed disappear. Didn’t she? (Or did she?)
And presumably, one could make the connection that her mother was the one that caused the disappearance. Lets ignore the nuances, the minute details of why, how, etc. Lets look at it simply.
Mother caused child to disappear into adoption.
Is it any wonder child would be afraid to meet mother? Child is now grown, renamed, rebirthed, alive. She doesn’t want to disappear. She has friends, family, a new name, a new mommy. Please don’t make them disappear. She likes them. They love her.
Meet mom and disappear.
Poof. Gone. Adios. See ya later, alligator.
Some would say that’s craziness, irrational. I wouldn’t. I get it. On a psychological, symbolic and many other levels, I really do get it.
I have my fear of disappearing into the adoption abyss.
The theatre at Fordham University was packed with adoption trauma victims. The lights went dark and Ann Fesslers work was projected onto the screen. I began to hear overlapping voices of mothers. Each one talking about her child, her experience, her loss. Anns artwork flashed on the screen. Adoption artwork. Around me, audibly, mothers and adoptees gasped, winced, cried. Hands reached out to hold a stranger. Tissues were passed from mother to child to mother to child.
And then it happened.
The primal wail. The room went darker. A buzzing in my ears. Dizzy. I felt like I was shrinking. Imploding in on myself. I tried to come back from wherever I was going. I couldn’t. I did not have the strength. I was afraid. I was conscious of my audible moans but I did not know how to stop them. Cry in public? Scream? Wail? Oh my. Must. Stop. This.
I couldn’t. I was falling faster and faster into some deep dark place. The world around me was fading fast. God where am I going? What about my children? I have to be at work on Monday. How do I get out of here? Where am I? Is this where crazy people go? It so dark. Oh, goddess, someone please help me.
And then Sandy, sitting behind me , a trained Reiki therapist and mother of loss, touched me, grabbed me actually, with both arms. One placed on each shoulder, mid bicep. Her hands were very warm. Hot even. Not like the cold dark place I was just falling into. She pulled me back. Literally pulled me physically towards her as I was hunched away from her and over…in a fetal like position.
Much like CarolAnn was pulled from the jaws of evil in Poltergiest, Sandy pulled me back from wherever it was that I was going. It didn’t feel like it was any place good.
The minute she touched me, something changed. I felt safe. I felt like I was going to come back. I was back in control. The adoption abyss lost me.
Afterwards, I felt utterly completely drained. I could barely walk. Stand. I was still weak and dizzy. I felt like a shell of myself. So very very very weak. I tried to smile. Chit chat with others about Anns work but I needed to collapse and recharge.
As I have said before, forget primal wound…lets talk primal sob.
What do I learn from this experience? There is an indeed some horrible place inside me. Some fearful, scary abyss where I could very easily disappear. Yet even with that knowledge, I feel its someplace I must visit. I must touch. I know that now only because I have been there and back.
I can go back there, perhaps even NEED to go back there, but I also need someone to help me come back HERE.