The Box

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.


17 Thoughts.

  1. This post moved me for so many reasons, but what made me pause and suck in my breath was my eyes fixating on the line in the photo of your handwritten letter which said “but I do not deserve her.”

  2. I have a similar box filled with things from days long gone.

    I hope your surgery goes well. Hugs.

  3. Wow! After viewing and reading the slideshow, and getting a glimpse of what is contained in “The Box’, I can certainly understand why it held such pain for you for so long. That is your story, Suz. The only thing you had left to mark that whole era of your life. Reading and viewing the contents of “The Box”, caused me to cry and lose my breath, with empathy. I think it served it’s purpose well, and now that the lessons it offered have been learned and integrated into the fabric of the amazing woman that you are, Suz, that history is no longer holding your soul for ransom. Bravo! I so admire your bravery at sharing your story and the ability you have to look at things with such and openness, even when it isn’t pretty.

    You have no idea how much reading here has helped me to process my own journey. Thank you for that! We will continue to evolve, as will our children lost to adoption. Having processed so much of my journey; I find today that I am able to enjoy each day more fully and not take a single ounce of love that passes through my life, for granted. No doubt there are more lessons to learn, but we are up for the task.

    Fare well in your surgery! I know it will be a lengthy recovery, but I have no doubt that you will be able to recover. I look forward to the days when you are hale and hardy, again. Perhaps the Mr. and I will wonder up for a Margarita with you, hubby, and your little green friend. Love and strength to you from us!

  4. Oh hells YES Liz!!! The lil green guy will even serve as our mixologist. Come on up anytime!!

  5. This post is so familiar! I used to have a box, too- it had a small padlock on it. It’s now a ziploc baggie, and I think it is in my dresser…I think. That box had so much power over me for so long….but maybe I should put the baggie in the safe. If I can remember the combination.

    Good luck on your upcoming surgery, Suz.

  6. Suz, this is an amazing slideshow in so many revealing ways on so many different levels. As I viewed it, I reflected on my own journey as well and how you personally have been part of my healing process and I thank you for this. You are truly gifted in your ability to express and share the reality of adoption trauma and your words in a book, ( “The Box” is a great title) could reach out and help countless others.
    I am happy for you that your heart and soul are no longer tied to “The Box” and I am reminded of that beautiful day in Chicago when you and Rich exchanged your vows. It seems like only yesterday.
    I’ll be thinking of you as you navigate this physical challenge that lies ahead and I wish you well.
    All the best,

    • Thank you for your kind words Gail. It did seem like yesterday. Such good memories and so glad you and Ray could be there. Also, thanks again for the card. So sweet of you. Brought a smile to my face. Love that some people still believe in snail mail! : )

  7. I have something very similar to your box. I am still in the stages where opening that box takes my breath away and hits me with so much emotion I just choose not to open the box.

    I love that you shared some of the boxes contents, very cool.

    What an awesome feeling it must be to let it go in a sense like you have 🙂

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