It doesn’t get better, it never does, it just gets different.
Do you have a day or a week in your life that you wish you could skip or fast forward through? I do. It used to be just today, March 22. But 6 years ago we added March 24 to the week and if it wasn’t for my husbands birthday on the 23rd, I would stay in bed for the week watching the Hallmark Channel, catch up on some books, applying all the oils, and eating all the flavors Ben & Jerry’s I could get my hands on.
You would think after years and years you would be “better.” But you aren’t, its a day you will never forget, for me the hours leading up to these phone calls are a blur but yet completely embedded in my mind and in my heart forever.
The first call was 16 years ago, I was in the kitchen when the phone rang. One moment I’m standing and in a blink of an eye I’m not. I don’t really remember how I got to the floor. Did I sink? Did I fall? Does it matter, not really.
My heart aches for the officer that pulled the unlucky straw that night to make “the” call. The call to inform me that my father was dead. Did I mention that he was only 45 years old. Causes unclear, other then that he died in his sleep with what they believe was a diabetic crisis. The next question no child is prepared to answer, along with all the questions that came after that.
Do you want an autopsy?
I choose unwisely that night. To this day I regret my decision to not have an autopsy done. I let fear and anger get in the way of a decision that in the long wrong would have given me answers. The assumption was that his death were due to complications from his diabetes, and I’m sure it played a roll in it, but what if there was something else going on? I’ll never know. Everyone needs to know. You may think you are different, you’re not. Answers are the key to understanding, surviving, and healing. Without them come the questions. Years of questions and questioning everything you do and every decision you make. Years of wondering. Years of reminding your self to be smarter next time, hoping there is never a next time.
Unfortunately I didn’t learn my lesson until I did this a 2nd time with a beloved pet, who died unexpectedly and for no explained reason. More years of wondering and knowing that I should have done something different.
In 2 days, it will mark our 6 anniversary. I wish it was for something happy, but unfortunately that was not the case. It was a Saturday, just like this year will be. My husband was home (thank goodness.) We had finished breakfast and we were trying to decide what to do for the day. My husband was in the rocker with our daughter, our firstdaughter. When the phone rang. The person on the other end of this call was the adoption lawyer from Wisconsin. The birth mothers lawyer. The lawyer that ripped our family apart. The same person that made a clerical error that made it so our daughter would NO longer be Our daughter. Suddenly the birth mother had a support system and had changed her mind. The birth mother that choose us, spent days with us at the hospital, was there when we choose her name, the same name that is still on her birth certificate, our name, and then choose to give her a better life. My reason for not ever wanting to step foot in Wisconsin again.
Our journey is long, I’ve heard it all. It happened for a reason. God has a plan for you. I’ve had years and years of listening to other people tell me why these events happened and years of wondering what had I done wrong. Five angel babies and now we were instructed to return our sixth love in 5 days.
Honestly the thought of keeping her for 5 days was too much, but its what my husband needed and as it turned out the time was good for me too. On the last day, we drove to the airport, we got on the plane as a family of three, with a box of kleenex, some Xanax, all of her belongings, and flew to Wisconsin. When we arrived, the walk to the gate was the longest and the shortest walk. For a process that was so long, the return was so simple. Sign this paper, hand her over (aka prior her from my arms,) and walk away. And thats what we did, we walked away from our 6th love, the first to bless our home and our lives for the best 7 weeks we could ask for. After that I remember nothing. We flew home with an empty box of kleenex and a family of 2. Our home had been packed up and her belongings stashed away and the only thing waiting for us were our fur babies, waiting to comfort us.
The next week a blur. I didn’t want to function, I couldn’t. My husband went back to work after a few days and I stayed home and painted several rooms in our house. I spoke with our adoption agency for hours, every day. And while the grief was still heavy, my husband and I decided we didn’t want to delay the process any longer. Adoption can take weeks, months, even years, a missed step can break you. This missed step almost did.
I choose to write these words not for your pity or sympathy, but for hope. Your journey will always be your own but you are never truly alone. Don’t make my mistakes. Find your answers and help others to find theirs. The journey of grief is different for everyone and while it never truly gets better you will get to a point where life changes and you can go on.
Oil up, take breaks when you need to, and if you you need a cookie, eat the cookie,