Tonight as I was driving home from work, is when I started losing my grip. It wasn’t even a bad day, really. But by the time I got into my truck and just a few miles down the road, I could feel it slipping through my hands. I was holding on as tight as I could, but I could tell that I wasn’t far from the end of my rope.
By the time I got to the second red light I didn’t have the strength to hold it all in anymore, and I started unraveling emotionally. Try as I might, I could not keep the muscles in my face relaxed. They were all tightening up. I tried to cover up the pained expression on my face, but I could do nothing to restrain the tears as they began to fall.
As I described to my counselor, I can usually tell if the emotional distress is from losing my unborn baby, or if it is related to the losing my son to adoption. The grief from losing the baby last fall is generally easy to tell. It brings sadness, a lot of tears, and sometimes heaviness too. Compared to the adoption distress, it’s relatively calm.
The adoption distress, it’s like throwing paint on the wall. It’s complex, it’s sudden, it’s unpredictable, it’s everywhere all at once. And that’s where I was tonight, everywhere all at once.
I don’t know if I can adequately describe it to someone. For me it’s like a thrashing inside, literally. Sometimes I rock myself to calm down. Sometimes I find myself shaking my head, as if I can shake it off. It feels like my heart beats harder. The crying is not a silent with a few tears. No, it’s sobbing – audible sobbing, while gasping to catch my breath. I often find that I just stop breathing, or am holding my breath. When I breathe in again, it hurts.
By the time I got home, I couldn’t stop crying like this. At the bottom of our driveway, I sat in my truck a few moments hoping it would stop. It did not, so I got out of my truck and walked to get the mail from the mailbox with tears running down my face. When I drive up to the house, I turned off the engine and just sat there.
The crying obviously was not going away, so I gather my stuff and go inside. I put down my lunchbox and laptop bag and head upstairs. Although I’m not tired, I retreat to the bedroom and lay on the bed. The sobbing takes over and I just cry. My sinuses are jammed from all the ‘extra draining.’ My body curls up from how tense I am.
Finally a moment of rest as the sobbing subsides. But the mind does not give me rest, the emotions inside do not give me a rest either. As another wave comes, my fists clench and my chest tightens up. It is pointless to resist the tears or the crying. I can’t really control it – all my muscles start shaking and the sobbing starts again. All the while it feels like a gigantic super ball is bashing into the walls inside of me, back and forth, right then left, up then down, side to side just crashing into everything and out of control.
It’s the iron will to fight with the want to give up at the same time. It’s the want to fight on and an overcoming weariness to even go on. It’s the hope and afraid to hope.
My heart, it just hurts. I long, desperately long to see my son, but I know that whatever relationship we might have in the future … it will NEVER be what it was originally intended to be. It will always be less, and it will be inferior, it will be secondary.
This adoption journey, it’s maddening. There are just so many emotions, guilt, rage, anger, grief, loneliness, sadness, hope, hate, hurt, and pain. Its like being on a merry-go-round in the dark, with an over full stomach, with strobe lights and a disco ball. It’s a mental slide show of all the pain of losing a child… my child… a child that should be here with me…that could be here with me…but isn’t.
I don’t even know where he is – what music and food he likes, what his voice sounds like.
It was never meant to be this way.
It was NEVER MEANT TO BE THIS WAY.
Sometimes in life we get a second chance, but other times there are no do-overs. With adoption, it’s not a do-over, it’s a run-over…. like with a 5 mile long train of double-stack cars. There is no escape, and the person from before is gone, and only pieces of her remain…and she’s left to figure out how to put those mangled pieces together again and somehow go on in spite of it all.
There is no peace in adoption – unless a person chooses denial.
There can be enduring, there can be surviving, there can be fighting, there can be reforming, there can be exposing, there can be coping - but there is
I’m not downplaying the pain of losing an unborn baby. But, Man! So far for me it’s cake compared to dealing with the adoption loss.