A mom friend, in a reunion similar to mine, had a difficult weekend. Through our exchanges via facebook status updates, message and more, she said many insightful things to me. Amazes me when that happens. The drama of the day was hers and I was intending to be supportive and yet she taught me something.
One of the most profound sentiments she expressed to me was the concept of her putting her reunion on life support.
We were discussing how difficult it is to be in limbo. Mothers (like me and like my friend) often seek black and white answers. We need, desperately, for our children to give us a hard and fast answer – yes, we will someday want to know you or no, we don’t EVVAH want to know you. We don’t want this answer really…at least not the negative answer. We don’t really want to push our children into a decision or be difficult with them. We understand they need space, and time, and maturity and love.
What we really want when something inside us begs for an either/or answer is some insight into how we manage the overwhelming feelings of limbo psychosis that can surface at any moment.
How does one EXACTLY put their heart on hold? How do you hold out hope for a child you may never ever get to meet or talk to again? How do you go on with your life and have a productive, fulfilling marriage to your partner and motherhood to your parented children when part of your heart is out there, on a shelf, beating ever so slowly. How can you ever be completely THERE for those in your life that DO want to know and love you when part of you is so drastically fragmented and focusing on the ones that don’t?
The what-ifs and the maybes and the coulda’s and the wouldas and shouldas rise up from the depths of our hearts like those black oogey evil things rose from the ground in the movie Ghost. As with creatures in the movie Ghost, these demons take us away, take our thoughts, our breath, our tears and our energy. They take us away from the here and now and leave us aching in a field of maybes. And while we do that, our loved ones stand around anxious and angry and resentful that we are wasting our time on a someone who doesn’t want to know us.
How do you manage that?
It was at this point in our conversation my friend said the following.
“…putting a relationship on life support — maybe someday he’ll wake up, but then again, he could remain in the adoption coma and all I can do is sneak in the room and squeeze his hand once in a while.”
OMG. What a visual and how true it is. That is exactly what I feel like. I have a relationship on life support. I am giving it just enough time and energy to keep it alive in my heart. I sneak away when no one is looking and I visit my daughter. I notice she is still breathing. I visit her twitter, her blog, her personal website. I, in effect, squeeze her hand once in a while but she doesn’t know it anymore than a coma patient would. I talk to her, read to her and fantasize that one day she will awake. Others tell me I am wasting my time, they have no faith, they tell me to let her go. Let her die. Slip away. But I cannot. Mothers like me don’t give up. I get angry at the naysayers. How dare they! How dare they give up on my daughter, their sister, their grand daughter. I, me, mothers like me..we hang on. We believe. We carry around that silly thing called hope. And still we hold the hand even if it never squeezes back and never wiggles a finger.
Some day she might.
Really? Will she? And while I squeeze that hand and make those visits, how much am I taking from others in my life? Am I prolonging the pain? Torturing myself? Believing in something that will never be?
I have no answers for my friend. I have no answers for myself. I really have no point in the post other than to state I adore the metaphor.
Adoption Reunion: A Relationship on Life Support.