Dear Mom,

This past month has been incredibly difficult. I know you know this and have been by my side the whole way.

I keep imagining you hugging me, whispering your words of wisdom in my ear. I’d give anything to hear you now, feel your arms around me while you tell me things I don’t want to hear but need to; things only a mother can say in a way that is both sobering and full of love.

Life isn’t the same without you. You always tried to convey that feeling to me when you spoke about your mom. I don’t think it’s anything anyone can truly understand until they too have lost their mom.

Anyway, I miss you. I love you.

Keeping my eyes open for signs of you, your messages.

M.

Guilt And Good Byes

 

Over the past few months, life has felt a bit like being caught in a huge wave, trying to not fight against it while struggling to keep my head above water.

From being told I might have cancer, then being told they were wrong, then back to its most likely cancer and that I need surgery, then losing my mom just days before the procedure.

Now that I have had time to process it all, I’m trying to sort out how I feel.

I know I’m grateful beyond words that my cancer scare was just that, just a scare. I know I’m heartbroken and feel an emptiness from losing my mom. But mostly I feel guilty; guilty for not being a better daughter, for not being by her side when she moved to heaven.

I don’t think it has fully hit me yet that she’s gone. I keep wanting to call her and tell her everything is fine, but I can’t. Then I feel guilty for that, for wanting to share the news that I’m fine with her, when it turns out she’s the one that wasn’t fine.

Some people know what happened when my dad passed away and the effect it had on me. It’s still difficult to remember, let alone talk about.

The short version is he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In his last few days, I didn’t sleep at all, just cared for him; I was afraid to close my eyes. On the last day, I laid down next to him and held him to try to comfort him. I accidentally fell asleep, and when I woke up, the man in my arms, my daddy, was no longer there.

People have told me how fortunate I am to have been able to be there for my dad that way. I never understood that, until now.

As much as that hurt and still hurts to this day, I feel so damn guilty I wasn’t there for my mom the way I was for him. I had this stupid surgery that I now know wasn’t as urgent as we thought and her pneumonia was far more serious than we knew.

I guess this is all a part of the grieving process, it just takes time. I felt guilty for not being a better daughter for my dad, too. I know they both loved me beyond words, I just pray they know I loved them just as much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw

I’ve never really been good with words. I envy those who are. When I read something that another person has written that perfectly describes what I’m thinking or feeling, I imagine they are tapped into some secret, exclusive club. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to express yourself so effortlessly.

My words tend to come out jumbled. There seems to be some weird filter my thoughts go through when they are produced. But instead of a sifter, it’s more like a blender. Things just get mixed up and confused.

Ive been trying to find a way to get the mess in my head about what’s been happening lately out. I’ve made jokes about it all, I’ve cried, screamed, sat in complete silence with a myriad of thoughts and emotions swirling around me.

Ive said the wrong things, expressed myself poorly. And I haven’t been completely honest about how I feel.

Im scared. I’m devastated. I’m broken. And I feel very alone.

Its difficult to need anyone. The fear of rejection and disappointment in your darkest hour of need is paralyzingly. Being completely vulnerable, entrusting that part of your heart and soul to anyone is probably the hardest thing anyone can do.

If someone comes to you, especially if it’s someone you love, and they trust you enough to show you this part of them, please, no matter how difficult it is for you, be there. Be there completely. Know that they, in their most vulnerable state, are trusting you with themselves. They are looking to you for the comfort they need because they see you as the one special person in the world they can be raw, real, unguarded with.

.

Life Comes At You Fast

The other day I received a radiology report that is a bit concerning. It’s most likely nothing, but the report combined with some odd symptoms I’ve been experiencing had me on edge a little. Ok, a lot, at least for the first couple of days. I sort of freaked out, but I’m better now. I’m actually experiencing a strange sense of calmness. I’ve decided I can’t worry about something I don’t know.

The thought of possibly having cancer has me seeing life from a completely different perspective. It’s funny how things that once seemed so important can suddenly seem irrelevant. Likewise, how it can make your plans seem urgent. The thought of possibly not having the year, or five, to wait to make things happen makes you really see what and who is important.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the past 5 days. Too much thinking. What if. How. When. Why. Then it dawned on me; it doesn’t matter. None of us knows how much time we have here. None of us are getting out of here alive.

The only thing we can do is cherish the time we do have. Love those close to us with a fierce love, never letting them question it. Don’t assume we have time. Don’t assume they know. Do it now. Surround ourselves with people who bring out the best in us. Bring out the best in the people we are around. Most of us don’t make a huge impact on the world, but we can always make a huge impact on those in our lives.

Live a life that makes our hearts smile. If something doesn’t make us happy, if it doesn’t make us a better person,  if it makes us miserable and not at least a little excited to see what tomorrow may bring, whatever it is, stop. Don’t live a life of dread. We only get one, (unless you’re Buddhist, the lucky bastards) make it count.

Find happiness in the simple things. Make that amazing homemade pizza, perfect that cup of coffee, write that book, enjoy the comfortable silence, take that drive, play your favorite songs, play them loud, no matter what anyone else thinks of them.

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on us. Reality checks are good. I’m grateful for mine. Whatever the outcome, I got this.

And speaking of favorite songs, here are a few of mine.

New Order Ceremony

Joy Division Atmosphere

Mazzy Star Fade Into You

 

 

 

My Adoption Story

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the abortion issue and how we, as conservatives, we seem to be beating our heads against a wall. I’ve watched the debates, read the articles from both sides. I’ve heard the personal accounts. We’ve used logic, science, reason, and even emotion to convey the nature of abortion to no avail. Many know I’m a birth mom, but I haven’t had the courage to open up and tell my story until now.

We’ve all seen the shock method used of pictures of mutilated aborted babies. This does little more than cause people to shut down. Very rarely does this method have any positive effect.

We’ve heard the argument from the religious standpoint, but not everyone is a believer.  This method only seems to gain validation from like-minded, rather than changing someone’s mind.

When discussing abortion on scientific merit, abortion supporters have finally come around to accepting that life begins at conception, the zero point, as is taught in biology. But often site that if said life is not viable, it is not important. And some will go to the extreme and say no matter the stage of pregnancy, the mothers wishes trump that of the life inside her.

Often frustrated with the circular arguments from the pro-abortion side, I’ve even witnessed our side resort to hateful rhetoric and name calling in an attempt to shame the other side. And while that may make us feel better for a moment, these tactics have obviously been counterproductive. After all, when has anger and hate ever persuaded anyone to view things from your perspective?

We could learn a lot from the pro-abortionists. Pro-abortionists have mastered their message. They embrace these women, (at least on the surface). They console them and offer them their “non-judgmental” solution. They make these women feel secure, they offer support. They don’t ask how it happened. They don’t scold or ridicule.  Their message is clear, “We are here for you“.

Our side doesn’t seem to grasp how important that message is.

Personal opinions aside, it is none of our business “how” it happened. And I’ve heard many on our side voice the assumptions “she’s a tramp” or “she’s irresponsible and deserves ridicule.” But those assumptions don’t actually define her, they do however define where our hearts are.

Truth is, while yes, we all know what causes pregnancy, and yes, we anti-abortionists know abortion is the termination of life, none of us knows someone else’s circumstances.

So how can we expect a woman, faced with such a tremendous decision, to embrace our way of thinking when she is perceived as a less than deserving, irresponsible, un-Christian, and a potential murderer?

You see, I know a bit about being on the receiving end of that assumption. I am a birth mom. And while my story is a little unconventional, it may help some of you understand what it’s like to be faced with this life altering decision.

When I was thirteen, I ended up pregnant and faced the shame, guilt, and pressure to just abort the little life inside me and it will all just go away.

The father refused to acknowledge me or the fact the baby was his, except later, to offer money for an abortion. He was the first in a long line of people who turned their backs on me. But he was far from the most painful. When I absolutely refused to have an abortion, I was turned over as a ward of the state and placed in foster care. My family, unsure how to handle my “situation” and to be honest, too embarrassed to deal with it, decided this would be best for all involved.

During my pregnancy I was on my own. I rode the bus several hours to my prenatal checkups where I was segregated along with the other teen moms. The visits were quick and clinical. No information was given to me. No printed out sonogram pictures. I don’t even recall receiving a smile from the doctors or staff. It was uncomfortable and humiliating.

When I began to show, my friends stopped calling me to hang out. My foster sisters were taken out in public, on outings, and to church while I was asked to remain at home.

So here I was, 13, alone, pregnant, and afraid, and I had no one I could turn to. I believed with my whole being I was doing the right thing, but everywhere I turned I was treated as an embarrassment, a pariah.

Women who have abortions don’t have to face that. Besides the quick fix angle, they can quietly take care of the problem, go on with life, pretend like it never happened. And unless they tell someone what they did, no one is any the wiser. I can see how that option is so appealing.

And while my pregnancy was difficult, I still believed it was the right choice to make, the only choice. But after the birth and adoption of my son, I saw another not so pleasant side of the adoption world. As a birth mom, I wasn’t then, nor am I now looking for accolades or pity. But how we are viewed, I believe, plays another huge part in why so many women choose abortion.

We are often asked how we can just give our kids away to strangers. We are seen as uncaring, as though choosing to give them up so they can have the life we could never provide, is something to be ashamed of. We are the “taboo” part of the warm fuzzy adoption stories. We are often seen as broken, unfit, or unworthy.

Often, you will hear adoptive parents speak of the birthmom as an addict, or “just didn’t have her life together”. You’ll hear them say how appreciative they are, but view themselves as almost better, because they are able to offer the child something the birthmom couldn’t. I know in my heart they don’t truly mean it like that, at least I hope not. But when I hear the stories from adoptive parents, I can’t help but feel a little sting in empathy for their birthmom when they speak about how she was unable, unfit.

Giving a child up for adoption is the most difficult choice I have ever had to make. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, wonder where he is, who he is, how he turned out. I did what I did out of absolute love, from the moment I found out I was pregnant. That baby was far greater than missing out on my teen years, and far greater than anyone’s opinions of me, then or now. But it would have been a lot easier if I didn’t feel like I was alone in the whole thing.

What I hope people take away from my story is when any woman is face with this decision, she receives the support she is desperately going to need.

That someone will help her search for a reputable adoption agency and adoptive parents, rather than searching for the nearest clinic and abortion doctor. That they will hold her hand and share in the wonder hearing the baby’s heartbeat, rather than holding her hand as she enters a room to end the life inside her. That people are by her side as she gives birth and cry with her as she says goodbye while handing her baby to the new parents, rather than having to console her after the abortion. And that ultimately she is surrounded by people who celebrate with her the life she has given rather than taking her out for drinks to forget a life taken.

Maybe, just maybe, if we change our way of thinking and our message, maybe the choice these women make will change, too.  From one that is seen as a quick and easy fix to what’s right. If I can do it on my own at thirteen, anyone can. They just need to know that choosing adoption is more than okay, it’s the right choice.