May 5, 2014

Sacred Journeys

 
“There's a story behind everything..but behind all your stories is always your mother's story..because hers is where yours begins.”
~ Mitch Albom, For One More Day
 
(originally posted in 2013)
 
In her book, "The Sound of Hope", Anne Bauer wrote...
 
"The day I found out I had two mothers I was cut in half. One half of myself resided here with my family, and the other half was lost, lost to a shadowy woman floating somewhere out there...You see, I'm adopted."
 
Growing up, I never let myself even think about my natural mother, so when I began dreaming about her as an adult ~ well, that began a whole new journey. With the blessing of my family, I searched and found her in my early 20's.
It was her mother, my Grandmother Carolyn, who shared the devastating news that my mother had passed away while also searching for me. Her name was Norma Carol.

 I was born Baby Girl Lowe, during the 60's when young, unwed mothers endured great shame ~ "The Baby Scoop Era".  They were told that giving up their babies for adoption would somehow redeem them...and us as well. They were supposed to "forget" and "move on" but most never could, including my Mother.

On her death bed, she made her family promise to "never forget" her only child, she knew would someday return. She wasn't allowed to see or hold me after giving birth and was led to believe she had given birth to a boy. But it was me, a daughter, who did come back, ten years too late.

I spent most of my 20's numb; stuffing disenfranchised grief.   Especially after my Mom who raised me was diagnosed with the same type of cancer that took Norma's life. Suddenly I was terrified of losing both my Mothers to this horrid disease.

Mom not only endured months of chemo and radiation, but also a bone marrow transplant...never losing faith and teaching me important lessons in perseverance and trust. We just celebrated her 82nd birthday, and 15 years as a survivor.

Finally, in my 30's, I could breathe again. I connected with other adoptees and first Mom's and began to hear their stories...and finally began dreaming of my Mother.

One of those dreams is so special...

I found myself in Norma's living room looking out her window, and there to my surprise, was the familiar site of my childhood neighborhood.
Overcome, I turned and realized my Mother had been with me all along.  As she reached out, took me in her arms and held me...she whispered words in my ears.  Words that empowered me, preparing me for life.

Then she said..."You know, Samantha, I can't complete you..." and her voice trailed off.  At this, my heart sank as she pulled away, picked up her things and walked out the door. The little girl in me stood there sobbing, helpless....trying so hard to somehow "wish" her back.

Her embrace remained a part of me. I felt stronger, bigger...even through the unbearable sadness of watching her go. It was then that I noticed...there, on the table, she had left her keys. For me.  I knew I would someday see her again, even if in eternity.
 
She had given me my life, my name, and a confidence that would never be lost again.

It is interesting that, even though I'm now a Mother myself, I am still seen as a perpetual child in the eyes of adoption law.  Adoptees are the only US citizens denied access to their original record of birth. 

Like a fellow adoptee named Moses, hiding in the desert;  this dream was, for me, truly a "burning bush" experience.

 When Moses asked God, "Who am I?", God said, "I AM the God of YOUR fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." He restored his identity and his lineage
 
Then God said, "Take off your shoes...(mine even had names ~ Fear and Shame)...for the ground YOU stand on IS Holy. 
 
Our journeys are sacred, and that makes our very lives, and those we journey with, sacred as well.

Moses found his destiny wrapped up in both his families...a purpose, only fulfilled as he journeyed back to the place of his birth.

My Uncle Ronnie says that my son reminds him a lot of Norma Carol. Life somehow has a way of coming full circle.
 
I am whole...no longer cut in half.  So thankful for Motherhood, and very blessed to be on this journey with all of you. 

3 comments:

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Your dream sounds so whole and so healing in spite of its sadness. I am glad you found the keys to heal the split within you.

Yet another benefit to opening birth records: "Moses found his destiny wrapped up in both his families...a purpose, only fulfilled as he journeyed back to the place of his birth."

Shel Harrington said...

I've always thought of life as sacred, but I love your concept of the journey we are on being sacred also.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful essay. My name is Lee H. but I can never seem to sign in correctly and I end up being anonymous.

I can relate to so many of the emotions you express here.

This was a bittersweet waking up today. I am so glad that you have gotten to know your family and so sorry that you lost your mother. It sounds as though you are still very much connected.