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Friday, May 05, 2006

Piecing Memories

I was extremely excited to have the chance to meet, M., the woman at the other end of the phone line that June morning. She invited me to a picnic where I would get to meet her in person. To meet another mom; such relief!!! I would also have the opportunity to meet another reunited mother who was going to be there with her two daughters and grandchildren.

As is within my nature, I packed alot into that one day's agenda; sometimes I pack in way too much. I planned a trip for the morning to go to the hospital where I had delived my son. It was a pilgrimage for me. I had a strong drive at the very beginng of my reunion that I can describe as purely visceral. I needed to begin to put together the events of the time around my son's birth and the surrender. The carefully glued together picture of my life had scattered to the winds.

The memories of my son's birth and surrender were fragmented. Some were extremely vivid to me and over the years a certain spring scent, sunlight or breeze on my cheek would trigger a strong memory of that time. Juxtaposing these crystal clear memories were huge gaping holes of memory and and long months of fuzzy, fast forward, crackling, gray memories. I decided to return to the hospital of his birth and read my medical records. I also decided to obtain my records from the adoption agency.

So, on a hot July morning, I entered the hospital where I had given birth to my son. It was not the first time I had returned. I had walked the corridors when my son's father was a patient the summer after our son's birth. My grandmother and my mother had been patients there several times.

Still, it was surreal to be there 25 years after my son's birth and for the purpose that I was there. I entered the records room and was allowed to view my records. Of course, I was not able to see my child's records. However, just seeing the reports of my baby's birth helped me to piece together things that I had forgotten or never knew.

I would suggest to other mothers who decide to view their own records to make all efforts be really gentle with themselves. It would be good to spend time with a dear friend later on that day. Take good physical care; the basics. Eat well. Sleep enough. Exercise. It is necessary to do what nourishes oneself; physically, spiritually and emotionally.

I left the hospital in kind of a numb and shocked state, I think, so it was very good that I had immediate plans for the picnic. I knew that over at the park there were two women, other mothers, who understood how I was feeling. I knew that I was not alone in this.

The park where the picnic was planned is the prettiest city park/zoo/golf course and all set at the edge of a lake. Not only is the park grounds fairly spread out, but I have a terrible sense of direction. And I could not find M and her friend.

I did spot two young mothers with their children having a meal in the shade of a tree; a reprieve from the sticky humidity. I approached them on the chance that they were in the picnicing group. They were the daughters of the other reunited mother and they were also not able to find their mother and M.

Very kindly, they invited me into their little circle and shared their lunch. I meet their beautiful children and heard some of their own reunion story. In a nutshell, these sisters were reunited in their adulthood. Their mother lost one of them to adoption and raised the other.

It was evident to me that these two lovely women cared very deeply for one another. Their words and interactions with one another simply radiated love.

We never found their mother and M, who were lunching at the other side of the park that day. However, I was thrilled to have happened across the daughters' picnic site. They listened to some of my story and heard about my pilgrimage to the hospital for records. They offered support and encouragement to me in my very early reunion with my son. I know that they heard me with the understanding and empathy that not even my immediate family could not understand.

And I had not missed my only chance to meet with M. She invited me to meet in a few weeks with some other reunited mothers for a small gathering.

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