Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Does It Ever Get Better?

A friend is going to a support group meeting and wanted to know what she could say to the mothers of loss in pain when they ask, "Does it ever get better? Does the pain ever go away?"

If I were to answer, I'd have to do so from my experience. I don't think it ever "goes away." But, for me it has become less intense and more manageable with time and information and education. Ideally, you learn how to live with it, control the emotional response and still find happiness. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, right now. That happiness is not dependent on how my reunited children relate to me or anything or anyone else, including adoption, but on me and how I choose to live.

Maybe I am getting to a better place with it all because, while I still get triggered, my reaction is usually just pure anger and frustration and, in some cases, simply disgust. For that reason, I don't always go to sites or read articles that I know, in advance, are going to make me want to throw things. I pick and choose my debates and don't enter in to any that look like they are going to be non-productive. I also have to think about how I am feeling at the time, physically and emotionally. Then I sort out what I can do about what and what I can't do about what and forge ahead. I try to recognize my limitations. For instance, I can try to educate and enlighten, but I cannot control people's thought processes..I can't MAKE anyone else see things our way.

The adoption machine, SW's, family (hereafter referred to as THEM/They), that had a hand in my loss did have all the power back then. But I have the personal power now. If I thought, especially now that I am in my 60's, that I would suffer unending pain and sorrow forever, why would I want to see 70 and 80 and whatever I am given beyond that?

Maybe I am just too old for deep angst but I have accepted what happened as unchangeable, though inarguably unjust and horrible, and I try to concentrate on changing what I can in the here and now. I've come out on the other end of the adoption loss experience a wiser person. If we can attain some sort of redress and investigation into those crimes from yesterday, well and good and I am heartily in favor of and among those fighting to see that happen. In the meantime, doing what you can to help others in the same situation is better than an anti-depressant. Someone once told me, after a family tragedy, to look for the gift in the midst of the pain. Direction, awareness and truth are my gifts and I try to use them.

I think of my former neighbor from years ago, Gertrude Radenberg, a German Jew, who saw her new husband (they were wed two days before they were sent to the camp), sister and father die in the concentration camp where she spent 3 years of her young life (age 17 to 20). She wore a tattoo that marked her as a victim of the worst kind of oppression and personal disempowerment possible. She told me that when the Nazis would come into her dreams, or she would see the Holocaust depicted in film or on TV, she would laugh and say, "Here I am, you Putzes. You didn't kill ME, I am still here and I live and have love and laughter in my life. You didn't win and if you ever try again, I know how to fight you!"

Isn't that a bit the same? If we don't get better and learn how to live with what happened and how to cope without plunging into the emotional abyss every time we see or hear something that triggers us, then THEY have won. It's time for US to win. Now we know what to fight and are learning how to fight. So, I'd tell the moms at the support group that yes, it CAN get better. Look inside for your strength, to the rest of us for support and have patience.


dbannie said...

I needed to hear this, today.
Thank you so very much.

suz said...

fantastic. completely agree.