Grief


Ovarian cancer is a nasty, evil disease.  On Monday, it took the life of my friend.  She was an amazing person who fiercely fought the cancer.  She was someone you wanted to be friends with because she was a wonderful friend.  Even when battling cancer, she still wanted to know what you were struggling with and what was going on in your life.  You would spill your guts and then later kick yourself for unloading on her your petty worries when she was doing battle.  She was always optimistic.  Even though she was afraid and she did not want to lose her life with her husband, I never heard her question why this was her lot in life.  She was loving, compassionate, and feisty.  I can’t believe that she is gone.  She was 32 years old. 

She always dreamed of being a mother.  She would have been an amazing mother.  When she and her husband were having problems getting pregnant, they had exploratory surgery.  You can guess what they found.  She found out she had cancer 2 days before my son was born, late in August of 2005.  After her initial cancer surgery and cancer treatment, they thought that she had beaten the cancer.  They began to explore adoption.  She received adoption applications in the mail shortly before she found out that the cancer had returned.  That was in June of 2006.  This time, the cancer was back with a vengeance.  At first, treatments seemed to be working.  Just a few weeks ago, she went in for a CT scan.  She had a feeling that the treatment wasn’t working as well as before.  She was right, the cancer was slowly progressing.  They stopped the treatment and suggested that she find an experimental treatment.  She was to begin that treatment yesterday.  Instead, the cancer attacked her with a vengeance that no one expected.  The physical pain she experienced was excruciating.  She is now at peace.  Her funeral is in the morning.  I dread going because then her death will be  reality.  Right now, it feels like I just haven’t seen her in a while.  I don’t want to feel the pain of acknowledging that she really is gone.

Her death has reminded me of the tremendous influence that even the shortest life can have – for good or for bad.  She changed so many people for the better, myself included.  We all know those people who have lived a long life but influenced few.  We also know those people who seem to leak poison and pain.  She brought joy and faith.  She made you feel cared for by her.  She had a huge impact on my life.  I have had 2 miscarriages.  Their tiny and brief heartbeats had a tremendous impact on my life, on my husband’s life, and on my boys’ lives.  Their lives made me a better person, and I don’t regret them.  My friend made a tremendous impact on my life.  I wouldn’t trade the pain of losing her for the joy of knowing her.  I believe she is in heaven holding my babies, being the mom that she deserved to be.  I miss you, sweet friend.     

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My birthmother died violently in 1977.  Her killer was never found so her case is now a cold case.  My brother and I have talked about contacting the police department to request that they re-evaluate the case.  We both have just never done that.  His philosophy is that someone who is that evil has probably done it again and has probably been caught.  He feels that the killer is most likely dead or in jail.  For me, I am afraid to find out.  What if he is not in jail and he finds out about me and targets me and my family.  I just don’t want to get that close to that much evil.  I don’t want that evil to seep into my life.  I don’t want to know anymore of the gory details of her death.  I hate that her life ended that way.  I wish she had a different story.  Why am I thinking about this?  The 30th anniversary of her death is coming up this month.   I so wish it didn’t end that way.

Thanksgiving is often a time of reflection. What things in your life are you thankful for? I AM TRULY thankful that my birthmother chose adoption for me. Why is gratefulness by an adoptee often viewed as a bad thing? I have so much admiration and respect for my birthmother’s willingness to make that decision. She was already parenting a son and she knew that she was not doing right by him. My brother has told me stories about his childhood with her. About the times when he could barely get her to wake up because she had ingested some substance. About the times when he was very young and he was left outside playing alone in the dark while she was in a room with a boy with the door shut. He has many similar stories. My brother has struggled most of his life. Much of that is because of the parenting that he received. He is trying to decide what path he wants to take in his life. For the first time in his life, he is thinking of long term goals. He knows that he has wasted away more than 10 years by abusing drugs and alcohol. He has struggled with relationships. I know that my fate could have been the same, but it wasn’t because my birthmother made such a huge sacrifice. I love my life. I can’t imagine life without my wonderful husband and my 4 precious boys. So yes, I am thankful that I am adopted. And yet…. I am still so envious that my brother knew, really knew my birthmother. He knew her smell, her voice, and her laughter. It pains me at times to know that he knew her touch, her hugs, her kisses. There it is, the but. I am thankful but… It does not make me any less “grateful”, but oh how I wish I could have known her, talked to her, TOUCHED her. The feel of her arms around me would be heaven. I wish I knew if she ever held me. Her touch, that is what I grieve the most. I so wish she could know my boys, my treasures. I wish I could know her personality, not just hear what she was like but truly know her. I wish, I wish. But….since she is dead, it will never be. Thankful, but….