Saturday, November 10, 2007

NaBloPoMo - Day 10- thinking of a new life when death is coming

January 2003

We've made a couple of attempts writing The Birth Mother Letter, but it either sounds stilted or fake or both. Not who we are. As much as we want to "fit" what the agency recommends, we have to be authentic. I believe that our baby will come to us if we are true to that on paper.

The hardest part is feeling loose and happy enough to write it. My stepmother is dying of bladder cancer and my mind and heart are with my dad. And the thoughts pumping through my head are not happy ones. I just came back from a long weekend visit, at their request, and it looks like she will be leaving us soon. She has been my stepmother for 24 years. We haven't always had the smoothest relationship, but she has been there and I love her. Most importantly she loves my dad.

Several years ago, my stepmother took me on a trip to N. Georgia to walk a labyrinth. It was my first introduction to a labyrinth. The time together was special and then walking it in silence with the back drop of the N. Georgia mountains was extraordinary.

She's quite something. After working for the State for many years, she retired and started her own business. One of the things she did was write a handbook on caring for babies born with AIDS. This was back in the 80's and she was cutting edge. She's also been very actively involved in the YMCA since she was in college in Kansas. Recently she became an ordained Minister of the Kabbalah faith.

The other night my father awakened to find my stepmother not in bed. He looked for her, everywhere. He finally found her downstairs in the playroom known as Hippo's Room. She was playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine trains, setting up the tracks. Dad asked her what she was doing. She told him that she was waiting for J to come over and play. J is my 8 year old nephew. It was 3am. Then my father had to get her back upstairs and she was agitated and confused. I can only imagine how painful that must be for him.

My stepmother is in a great deal of pain. She has neuropathy in both feet, which causes severe pain and burning upon walking - a side effect of the chemo. I think my father is getting much closer to calling in hospice. But, for now, he goes it alone.

My needs are great for a child. But, death is coming for my stepmother and it is hard to think about a life joining us and what it will take to get there.

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  1. Oh, I'm so sorry. That sounds really, really rough. I hope that your stepmother's pain is controlled to the extent that it can be.

  2. It must have been a really challenging time for you.

    Life does that, though, doesn't it?- present those amazing juxtapositions of life and death, to remind us to retain our perspective. My father repeatedly reminded on his death bed that "this, too, shall pass", so that I would remember that there would be a time when his loss was not all-encompassing.

    And after all that deep reflection, now for something light-hearted - I'd like to tag you for a meme. Tell us 7 random or weird facts about yourself. Come see me to find out more. :)

  3. WOW. I am so sorry too. Infertility alone is stressful, let alone the added stress and complexities of cancer. You are such a strong, amazing woman.

  4. Thank you for your kind thoughts, ladies.

  5. These walks into the path are not entirely easy, are they? xoxo

  6. Just start writing. Spill it all.

    Then hand a friend your (novel! ha!) letter and have them start to whittle it down for you.

    I just did this for some friends, and we were able to help them "be themselves" but meet the requirements, as well. It took us gentling working it over about three times, yet agency and parents are all happy with the final product!

    A letter.

    Sounds so simple to most people.

    Hang in there.


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