Mea Culpa


My life story started well before I drew my first breath.  In fact, all our life stories begin the same way.  In the womb.  In the womb we feel and sense joy, angst, resentment, excitement and so much more. It serves to colour our journey, setting in place all the stepping stones our soul requires for evolution during the lifespan.  For some, drawing the first breath came with loving arms, joyful tears and proclamations of undying love.  Not for me. This is not about what I went through but more about garnering an understanding about who I have been and who I am becoming because of an extraordinary woman.  My birth mother.  I am realizing just how much a part of my birth mother I really am and have always been.

Upon my birth I was placed in a foster home under the care of, from all accounts, a foster mother named Debbie.  I was with her until I was 3 mos of age when I subsequently was placed in an adoptive home on Dec.22nd of that same year.  I was considered a Christmas gift to two excited parents but alas was treated more like the gift no one wanted that consistently was kicked into the back of the closet. No one realized that the woman who gave me life was feverishly working to get me back.  It wasn’t to be.

Years went by and I always wondered who my birth parents were, was I anything like them, and why did I like the things I did.  It took 7 long years of searching but I found them.  Foremost in my mind was meeting my birth mother.  I shall never forget the day we laid eyes on one another.  I looked like her.  I stood like her.  I sounded like her.  For the first time in my life I had a frame of reference.  I met her brothers and sister and much to my relief I learned they were all musically inclined—as I was.  The icing on the cake was when we were visiting and one of her brothers went to the piano and began to play.  Another brother went upstairs and immediately returned playing the fiddle as he came back down.  I was riveted to my seat barely able to breathe.  They told me at Christmas they would gather around the piano, playing various instruments and sing carols.  I cried.  I explained to them that ever since I was a little girl I had quite an intense longing for just this very thing and I never knew why.  My questions and quirks were being answered and validated one by one.  I have to say that the feeling of ‘belonging’ was huge.  I no longer felt as if I had been dropped out of the sky and simply landed where I did.  I had roots.

It wasn’t long after meeting my birth mother that I met my birth father.  Again, the connection was strong.  I was deliriously happy in finding out how I happened to be in this life and the genes I carried into it.  But with everything in life there seems to be some sort of honeymoon period.  The shiny newness fades and routine sets in.  When I speak of routine I want to be very clear.  Routine equated to ‘taking people, places and things’ for granted.  This I did.  In spades.

Last night I received a call from my half-brother, my birth mother’s son.  He informed me that my  mother is gravely ill and is not long of this world. She is fighting the good fight but with 19 tumors safely nestled in her brain there is not hope as the doctors believe she may only have 2 – 4 weeks to live.  The news hit like a sledgehammer.  This woman, this incredible woman who carried me, loved me, wanted me and fought for me is leaving.  I would give anything to throw my arms around her and tell her much she has meant to me, even though I didn’t show it very much.  My half-brother suggested a skype call, sooner rather than later.  I have never liked the feeling of a chill going up my spine and I certainly didn’t like the feel of it when I heard his tone.  We soothed one another’s pangs of despair, said “I love you” and hung up.

Instantly I was filled with an anger—an anger with myself.  How could I have let so much time go by!  Why didn’t I keep in touch like I should have! All the ‘would have’, ‘should have’, ‘could have’ thoughts went racing through my mind.  It’s normal but I had to stop myself anyway.  What would/should/could happen is behind both of us now.

It’s an odd feeling to realize when my adoptive mother passed away I never cried.  I felt free.  But my birth mother, whom I have not had a lot of contact with, is crushing me to my very core.  Life is funny.  ‘We’ are funny in so many ways. Could it be that subconsciously, right from the womb and to the point where I was taken away from her that the belief she ‘left me’ has been dormant up until this point?  It would make sense that in her dying I would be crushed that she is leaving me – again. Whatever subconscious thoughts and feelings that have surfaced in the last 24 hours I need to pay attention to them as they are my stepping stones to healing that which has not been serving me. Her situation has afforded me all of that and more.  I will not let her down again.

Much time was spent struggling with the feeling I didn’t deserve to be at her side given I did not demonstrate through the years that I cared very much.  I felt that this time, this precious time of ‘last moments’ were more preserved for those who had been active participants in her life.  I am not quite sure just where the turning point was in my self-talk but I realized being a part of this woman constituted some ‘rights’ to say goodbye.  I have decided to fly out to see her.  This woman gave me life.  The least I can do is love her through this last part of her journey. This strong woman who suffered greatly in life, some of which I am responsible for is about to say goodnight. I will be there. Too little too late? Perhaps.  But it is all I know how to do. When I sit by her bedside and hold her hand, I know shortcomings and guilt will swirl in my mind and may make me feel that arriving during the 11th hour is not enough.  However, I must believe that to a ‘mom’ who has continued to love me anyway over the years, it very well could mean the world.

It is so important to say and demonstrate all you feel while you can and while those we love are still able to appreciate the fullness of it.  Please do not wait to express, dismiss or deny the love you have for another.  It is who we innately are and the bottom line is…it is all we have to give.

I love you all.