The last time I went under general anesthesia I had carpal tunnel release surgery performed on my right wrist. Prior to the surgery, I had arranged to meet with my daughters father and I asked him, practically begged him, to take ownership of “The Box” in the event of my death. It can be suggested (and I would likely agree — now) I was being a bit melodramatic. Who dies from carpal tunnel surgery? Even if you questioned the risks associated with general anesthesia you would learn that morbidity rate of anesthesia hangs around 1 in 10,000 administrations in otherwise healthy patients. Yet I was concerned. I can state I was more concerned with the idea of dying without my daughter knowing her story than I was well, with dying. Seems a little backwards (now).
Years later reflecting on that surgery on the eve of a more complicated, lengthy one (6-8 hours under anesthesia), I find myself comforted by my lack of fixation, now, around The Box.
For those not familiar with The Box, I offer that is a fireproof box containing nearly 30 years of emotional information related to my love affair with my daughters father, my pregnancy, confinement to a maternity home, adoption surrender, continued affair with her father, search and reunion. The box contains love letters from my daughters father, birthday and holiday cards, photographs of him, jewelry, movies, books, audio tapes and more. It is essentially the story of my daughters conception and adoption surrender all in a neat (okay, maybe not so neat) tidy box. The contents are voluminous. Poetry I have written, correspondence between her father and me, print outs of email conversations between my daughter and me post reunion, and much more.
Historically, this box was HIGHLY triggering to me. I once said I could hear my teenage expectant mother voice weeping as I opened the box. Opening it would cause me to lose my breath, cry, even become depressed for days. There are way too many demons contained in the metal box, far too much trauma, too much emotion. It is the physical manifestation of years of pain and sorrow. It is my recipe for conjuring massive PTSD flashbacks.
I opened it yesterday and you know what?
I am good with it all. Yes, it is still a sad collection of documents and images. It still has the power to make me weep and sometimes lose my breath but the power to destroy me for days?
Gone. Kaput. Adios. Hasta la bye-bye.
I am not feeling any overwhelming concern for The Box. I don’t even care, now, if my daughter never sees its contents. Whereas I once thought I was saving it for her, to tell her story, I no longer feel that way. It, and I, well, we have evolved.
I am not sure what I will do with it. I feel partially drawn to craft it into an amazing book – epistolary format (think Nick Bantocks Griffin and Sabine trilogy). Maybe I will. Maybe I wont. What I will do today is share some of the contents of with you.