When my adoptive mom, Jewell, died in 1982 I was emotionally devastated and grief stricken. The loss of my dad four years earlier had been traumatic, but I had my mom to take care of and we grieved together. With her death I felt absolutely alone in the world, and for the first time, was aware there was no longer a safe-haven where I would be loved, protected and taken in no matter what. I was fortunate to have Diane, who became my wife one year later, for help, support and comfort.
Ten years later, when I first considered search and reunion, one of my first thoughts was that I might have to grieve for another mother. Partly to protect myself from the inevitable, I had said to my therapist, Vikki, “I’m not looking for another Mother!” During the next couple of years, as I attended ANC general meetings and an adoptee only group lead by Dottie Klemm, it occurred to me that I was already grieving for the loss of her. What was missing was the possibility of joy, love and healing: nothing to lose. I found Margaret in 1994 and we reunited on my 48th birthday.
At 3:40 PM, January 20th, 2011 Margaret passed away with her children, grandchildren and several great-grandchildren at her bedside. We wept for her, for ourselves, and for each other. We made promises out loud and silently, held each other, and felt the swirling emotions of devastating loss and unconditional love. I thought about my two moms, Margaret and Jewell, and my fears about this moment. During my last few hours with Margaret I talked to her, hoping that through the fog of coma she could hear me.
I thanked her for my life and her courage and our reunion. I reminded her of the lonely night she spent in labor with me 65 years ago, and the miracle of reunion that allowed us to be together on this, her last night. Jewell would be glad about that.
For the second time, Diane has helped hold me together as the mourning unfolds, and there are my sister and brothers, nieces and nephew, aunt and uncles with whom to share the experience. Instead of the emptiness and loneliness of the past, there are many safe havens; people who once again will take me in no matter what. The grief, sorrow and tears are familiar, but are tempered by the years of joy and laughter we had together, and the future we have created.
As the 25th Anniversary of ANC approaches, I think about how I was gently and lovingly coaxed through the paralyzing fear and anxiety and was led to Margaret. The General Meetings and Adoptee Only groups have become safe havens where I can support and be supported by others who understand. It is time to reminisce, acknowledge,appreciate and celebrate the organization and the people who are Adoption Network Cleveland.
Linda Schellentrager said:
| Thank you, Jewell and Margaret, mothers of Estes ... for creating him and molding him into the man he has become. wow.
|May 18, 2012 at 9:01 PM