"Let her cry…if the tears fall down like rain
Let her sing…if it eases all her pain
Let her go…let her walk right out on me
And if the sun comes up tomorrow
Let her be…let her be. " – Hootie and The Blowfish, Let Her Cry
I have a secret to share. Maybe it is not a secret. Maybe it is obvious. But I must tell you.
I cry a lot.
I am always on the verge of tears.
I wasnt always a crier. In fact, it is a relatively new thing for me. I wonder if its abornmal. Is it related to reunion? To accepting the horrors of adoption? To taking off the mask of pretend and being real? Is it the floodgates?
I am always raw, always emotional.
I suspect some people IRL will find that surprising yet its true. Tears are always there, waiting for me, peeking out from behind my green eyes, ready to flow. I work hard at containing them. Sometimes I have to distract myself. I bite my tongue – literally. Or I look away. Or focus on my breathing. I invoke lamaze heeheehoohoo when ever the water wall threatens to drown me.
Last week I picked my sons up from school. They were their usually giddy selves. They deposited their back packs in the trunk of my car, played around a snow bank and then got into the back seat. As I started the car, my oldest informs me that they had a "code red" in school. Code red is the modern day equivalent of my old school fire drill. In todays version, code red is the name for an emergency situation. No longer are they mere fire drills (those are a different thing all together). Code red means terrorists have attacked the school. Code red means someone has come into the school and is firing a gun at people. Code red means get under your desks or run and hide (all 26 students) in the teachers office or the attached bathroom. Code red means find a book, and sit quietly (while stuffed into that bathroom) and read until you are told it is safe to come out.
My son describes code red to me as nonchalantly as he might tell me he wanted coco-puffs for breakfast. As he rambled on, I interjected with a few questions but at some point in time I had to stop asking. I was gasping for breath and holding back tears.
I did not have worry about such things when I was in the fourth grade. There had been no Columbines, no Virginia Techs, and certainly no 911’s. I did not grow up in a world of terrorists or bomb threats (though my own parents had). I was not sure what upset me more. The reality that my children are living in this world of terror or that they accept it as easily as they do the aforementioned coco-puffs at breakfast.
And hence, I cried. A lump formed in my throat, breathing became difficult, and my eyes began to swell from holding back tears.
I do click bys of my daughters online photos
I meet with other first moms for a social occassion.
I watch 20/20 and the episode is missing Madeline McCann.
I receive a supportive email from Mr. Dink.
One might be tempted to say "Oh, Suz, that just means you care and you are sensitive". I dont agree. I have to work so hard not to cry all the time that I believe it is something more than just being sensitive.
The reason I noted this on my adoption blog is that this constant crying began with reunion. Prior to actually finding my daughter, I was pretty, well, normal per se. I rarely cried. I was not all emotional. I was not constantly weepy at least not in recent years.
For the first few years following the loss of her I was deeply depressed, weepy and at times even suicidal. The agency was sent a letter by me at six months post surrender indicating if they did not respond to me and get me some help I was going to kill myself. They were kind enough to send me a letter and provide pictures of my daughter at that point. This tide me over for a while. I carried her pictures with me everywhere. I would pull them out and reflect on them when the desire to end it all took me over. I stayed alive for her. I had to. I later put myself into therapy (and it wasnt very good therapy as I was told I should get over it and that I was lucky my daughter was adopted). I found a way to compartmentalize the agony. I withdrew and hardened. I functioned for most of my years pre-reunion in this hardened, withdrawn, frozen state. I had to. I could not function otherwise. I had work to do, school to attend, food to obtain and digest. I am fairly confident this is when my mask was put on and the official split of Suz occurred. It was the early 90s. I was more myself in Chicago but when I moved back east in the early 90s, I had to be, well, who they wanted me to be. Socially acceptable and all that jazz. In Chicago I lived and socialized with people who knew my pain and my story. When I moved back east, that person, that Chicago city girl, was cast into the shadows. I smothered her with the mask. I lived that like that for nearly 13 years.
And then I found her. And yeah, I found me. Again.
Finding my daughter brought me back to the beginning and hence the crying begins anew. Finding my daughter opened up old wounds. Finding my daughter well, it allowed me to cry. I began to thaw and I began to grieve. I began to feel again.
And I have a great deal to cry about.
I just wish I could temper it or control it.
But I suppose that is what I did all those years ago.
It is time for a different approach.