Hell Yeah Adrienne

“The woman who cherished
her suffering is dead. I am her descendant.
I love the scar-tissue she handed on to me,
but I want to go on from here with you
fighting the temptation to make a career of pain.

– Stanza VIII from Adrienne Rich’s “Twenty-One Love Poems”

4 Thoughts.

  1. This really hits home for me, as I just lost my mother on New Years Eve. Our relationship was strained for many years, the loss of her first born grandchild to adoption being partly to blame.

    “I want you to go on here fighting the temptation to make a career out of pain.” So poignant…

  2. to me- after 5 yrs of reunion, and so much crying and revisiting and talking about grief and loss, and shame and silence, I think I am the woman who cherished my pain. Mostly I wanted to FEEL IT, express it, understand it, face it, look for it, share it, but now I can see the benefit of honoring the scars, but letting go of the misery. I don’t think I could let go until I truly walked through it. To deny it, make light, give it a gloss, without expressing it, would not have helped me. But having done that- been that woman- the new me, her decendant-will try and let go of the temptation to make a career of sharing pain. It’s a fine line to walk between teaching the truth about adoption loss and grief, and wallowing. Thank you for posting this.

    • katrina – i understand as I experienced/felt similarly. I actually think now I held on to it as a substitute for my daughter, if that makes sense. Since she refused reunion, I held onto the pain of it all as a substitute. At that time, what else did I have? (or so I thought)

  3. Suz and Katrina, I share a similar experience with each of you. Katrina, I have been in reunion for five years too, and I believe that, for a time, decades, my grief and loss was all that I had left of the two children I placed for adoption. Some part of me believed that to let go of that pain would equal giving up on my children or that I know longer cared for them. It was the only connection I imagined we had left. After my son found me on the internet in 2006, I slowly began to realize and feel the full extent of the connection that was lost, even as I made desperate attempts to become a part of their lives and bridge that gap. I was devastated at losing them, I thought again, but in reality, they were lost to me long ago. The only thing holding on to those fantasies of connection were each of our own fantasies of who we had lost, but with the harsh light of reality all of that was quickly dashed. It has been a rough journey for all three of us, but I believe going through that pain and facing the reality of how things are now, has helped us all heal. And even though none of us got our fantasy mother or child, we are better for knowing that we are alright and we will survive this as more complete people, whether or not we are in each others lives.

    As the poem above suggests, I too feel that I am the woman who held on to her pain, but I too am the woman who has moved on. scar tissue and all, past the temptation to stay in that familiar painful cocoon.

    I could not have done this without the help of women like Suz, whose stories helped me feel a connection to moms like myself, and helped me realize that I am not alone. I have also found a wonderful community among these women, one that I cherish and embrace, as a sort of family.

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