It was late. She was supposed to be in bed. We were both tired and cranky and I knew her Grandma coming to pick her up was in a bad mood. I dressed her in pj's and her snowsuit over top. The boys were off at a movie. Unaccompanied Minors. I remember the name the way that pointless trivia sticks with you when more important memories fade.
I sat her in the chair trying to keep her awake for the late night pass off I hated but couldn't change. She was going to Grandma's for a Friday overnight visit. Our relationship had grown increasingly strained in recent weeks and I struggled to find a way to fix it. There was no rational solution when dealing with an irrational person. Our difficulties made no sense. There was no logic to the complaints. I dressed her in the pink snowsuit and Grandma wanted her in the red. Her hair was growing too slow. I took her swimming at the pool. I let her mother come to visit. She loved us too much. She missed us too much.
Complaints I could not predict or rectify.
I wanted to scream "Don't you see how much she loves us? Don't you know how much we love her?" I was willing to do ANYTHING to fix things, driven by a fear that she held the power to break my heart. I grovelled. I begged. I paid. I fixed. I cried. I tried my best.
She left that Friday night before the boys even had a chance to say goodbye. She never came back. There was nothing more I could give and I knew, deep down, that inevitably Grandma would make me pay for the bond that Jazzy and I had, that she hated. An angry phone call and irrational complaints we could not fix. Shelby said no more and he was done with Grandma's drama. We couldn't play this game with our hearts, the boys' hearts or that baby's heart anymore.
We quit playing her game and we lost what mattered.
She left that night in her PJs. I handed her to her Grandmother. I kissed her cheek. I told her I loved her. "Mama" she said with a smile. I told her I would see her tomorrow.
Tomorrow never came.
I didn't know it was goodbye forever. I am not sure if I would have survived the night if I had known it was THAT goodbye.
My boys are haunted by her disappearance and their choice to go to the movie that night. They came home and she was gone. The child they adored. Their beloved baby sister. And she never came back. They never got to say goodbye.
Three years. I can breathe again. I go weeks without crying now. I smile and laugh and know I am healing. But never, ever does a day go by that I don't think of her. Ever. I gave her a year but I will love her for life.
very beautifully writtin Jen
I am so sorry Jen. How horrible for the boys too!
I know you are as inscribed on her heart as she is on yours....even if we can't see it. I don't think there is a hurt quite like the pain of losing a child you love. I'm crying right here with you.
I did not know that that was how it ended... I'm so sorry! I'm in tears thinking about what that would be like. I pray she is doing well today.
Aww.. Jen, You are amazing, many do not love as deep or care even slightly as much. Jazzy is richer because of that year as are you despite the unfairness of it all. Hugs
How heartbreaking! I'm so sorry. I can't even imagine feeling the pain you went through. I think I probably feel a fraction of it at just the thought of losing L, never mind actually facing that reality. I wish her grandmother had been able to get through her own issues and see that Jazzy was better off with you.
Thanks to you all. It just helps me to know that people remember her and are praying for her. I miss her so much.
Karen - Grandma, in her own twisted way, thought she was right. She was within her rights .... but tragically it just caused so much pain. There is much more to the story obviously (like the last 3 years) but that time isnt mine to share. It just makes me so sad. IT did NOT have to be this way. Did not have to END this way.
Hey--I remember way back to the days when you first started having her over...how you weren't sure at first. How people told you to guard your heart. It is obvious that it hurts way more than you probably ever imagined, but it was so worth it for you and for her I'm sure. To know you gave that sweet little girl the best beginning...I know it doesn't change anything right now but someday in the future, maybe it will all make sense.
((( hugs )))
Yes ... I remember Jazzy from your posts - all the joyful posts and pics. Of course, I also sadly remember the painful parts. You and your family were a blessing to her (and her uncle).
I've resisted writing about Queenie on my own blog because honestly? The pain and guilt I still feel over how she left is incredible. My little girl is getting close to her 5th birthday. How strange to know that her life goes on without me.
And you know what? That gives me an awful lot of empathy for Bubba and Flowergirl's first mom. I did it all right, but she still left. How much worse for the kids' mom who made the choices that result in her pain and my happiness.
What an incredible life we live.
I am sorry Jen. I think I told you this before but I believe that you are one person who can understand where birth parents are coming from more than anyone else can. The hurt just doesn't go away.
Hugs! I still think of you and Jazzy and your family often! This brought tears to my eyes!
hugs! Remember you all often! Lifting you up!
Tears pour down my face as I read this. My first girl came as a random encounter - I needed a job and her parents hired me in their restaurant. They had just taken their 9 month old to their country of origin because they couldnt work a restaurant and take care of a baby. Then mom found out she was pregnant. When that girl was born my new husband and I took care of her on night and weekends while they worked. It turned into overnight and then most of the week. We were newly married and already with the responsibility of a child and trying to mentor a family that didn't know the culture, expectation, etc. After 2 years they asked us if they could bring back their now 3 yr old for jato help take care of her. We said yes. She spoke no English and was terrified. She was like an adopted child because they we essentially strangers to her. She bonded to us. This killed them but they expected her to bond with them with no time or effort. After 2 years we were told they loved us to much. They were gone. Then 6 months later they called to ask if we could take them again. This time full-time - parents were struggling with the school... They came "home" for 1 yr. Then they were pulled back again - they loved us too much. They couldn't let "whites" raids their children - their family in their country of origin told them.... This time they sent them to another family a few towns over for the school year. At the end of the year the other family said no more. Then they were back this time for Just over 1 yr then they closed the restaurant, mom and dad split. We helped mom and dad get "American" jobs. The girls stayed with us but visited them more as their schedules were now 9-5. Then at Thanksgiving 2006 after 8 yrs on and off with the younger one and 6 yrs with the older Dad said he was taking them and going back to country of origin. Gone in a week. Now 14 and nearly 16 we continue to miss them. I hold out hope they will someday return. Skype and FB are a blessing. I miss them. Even with 4 children since then they are always on my mind, maybe a little deeper down but still there. The pain is still there. How could we have loved them less? Impossible... They deserved ever bit of love. These kids remember those early times. They remember and can feel that love. Tey call on it when they need strength. My thoughts are with you.
Anonymous - I wish we could talk. Look at my most recent post. She came back for a visit over Christmas - completely unexpectedly. :) A small blessing after all the pain.
Just found your blog--am trying to find the context/rest of the story but it sounds traumatic. Oh my goodness--
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