Facing into the wind and finally a face….
There are 100 counties in North Carolina,
and I begin trolling through them all,
searching the obituaries for a place I’ve got a homesick longing to see.
I have to do something, my hunger to know gone so long unfed
and I’m given over to the kind of desperate that makes you clutch and grasp and make a fist.
I want to find her hometown, walk down her childhood streets,
see where she spent her long ago days
– to feel the traces she may have left behind.
And to find the grave of the mother she mourns.
I won’t barge into her space uninvited, but I ache to quiet the rattle as my mind
circles ’round the lot looking always for a place to park.
But I don’t want to wreck this for either of us.
God help me please, I’ll wait.
She’ll say when she’s ready. She will.
I pull up, unfold the clench of my jaw, release again the strings,
and another year goes by.
She is bright and accomplished and can find me if she wants, I am positive.
But why doesn’t she?
Is it because she can’t hear the all of my heart?
Or because she can and doesn’t want me?
The un-knowing makes me feel small. A mouse. My imagination on too much catnip.
And Edith, please, what do you actually say to her? And how do you say?
Because, for the love, why doesn’t she write back?
I wrestle like this for years.
I can be minding my own business, living as wholehearted as I know how, and then
this roque breaker will clap down sudden like thunder and I’m splintered by the silence.
I sit down hard on every grabby impulse; I want her to know she is free.
She doesn’t owe me anything – this I believe.
I can touch my own scar and remember vivid when they wheeled me down the halls
and away from her small body left still beneath the bilirubin lamps to make her better.
I bear down on a hope that I’m leaving her to something better,
but I can feel it inside where something tears sharp with each door they pushed me through
that I am the one who is leaving.
And as I go, I know it like I will come to know this pain that never leaves,
that there is no way she’s not gonna feel this.
Does she feel it now, I wonder, and it unnerves the holes of me.
It’s been almost eight years since the tide rolled in with a bottle on a wave
and brought me first news of my girl.
One busy afternoon in September the agency rings again
and I grab on like a rope sweeping past.
She’s talked with Amanda and has some things to share; do I have the time?
The orbit of everything grinds to a halt as I drop to the floor to listen hard.
Edith’s words come like giftwrapped punches. My daughter’s whys.
I hear from a long ago place and can’t remember how to breathe.
The grown of me defends Amanda’s right to take whatever time she needs,
to feel whatever she feels – even if it’s abandoned.
She’s smart and feels deeply and her process is beautiful and valid
and I get behind her choices like an angry mama bear –
thanks for calling, really, but please don’t call again unless there’s a letter.
I hold this fresh jumble of not-knowing for five minutes, maybe a little longer,
and then lunge for my laptop,
prying open the lid long forbidden.
A newspaper in the eastern part of my state whispers the name of a woman,
survived by a daughter, that offers an “Amanda” in the cluster of those related.
There it is. Their family name. Her hometown.
I know enough from Edith to be sure that she’ll have a web presence
and my fingers fly across the keys as I google the magic box
and a string of images appear.
Oh God, it’s her.
I know them at once, those honest, hazel eyes.
I’m glad to be alone as I rock backwards on my feet and bolt from the room,
suddenly overcome by emotion that I still can’t name or figure.
My throat goes dry even as I type this now.
I return and look again, scrolling through several images, all so deeply familiar
and overwhelmingly and achingly and astonishingly her.
I’m head over heels, peering through tears that geyser up from somewhere deep,
as if my belly recognizes what my eyes can just now see.
I can’t quite keep breathing, but I love this face more than air
and I stand for a long, long while at the bright window of her smile.
“If I chase your echos down the hallways
if I just get ahold of them once,
will it bring you back to me?”
– Tyler Knott Gregson
This Summer series. My story finding it’s way into the light.
It’s been peck and crack and struggle and I appreciate your kind patience
as I wobble along. If it reads smooth and clear, then I’m not telling it true.
I can feel your questions like I’ve keenly felt mine. I’ll answer them around the bend.
It has been such a privilege to be invited on some of your journey. To view the kaleidescope of pain, interlaced with shards of hope and beauty. Glowing with the light which is you.
Thank you, Sue. So much. Deep breath of thanks,
In all honesty…I’ve never had words that have impacted me so deeply…I’m hanging on…eagerly waiting for more…when you are ready. Feel my love…
Thanks so much for sharing yourself over here, Robin; I feel supported
by your presence. It means the world. xoxo
Sweet Jenn, oh how I love your heart. Sucjh excruciating pain, the longing for someone you never wanted to let go of to begin with… I want to give you a big hug.As I read your words they come to life in my heart- wishing and hoping ang longing for you to find your daughter. And for her to find you, and in finding you, finding herself a forever kindred spirit. I admire your process and pray as I read… And I wait for the next page to be revealed… Sweet Jenn, I am praying for you in this process
I so appreciate you and your listening way, Lynn:)
Glad you’re mending fast, friend. Thanks for holding my hand:)
As I read this just before going to bed, the tears are welling in my eyes and I wish I could, right now, give you a huge hug. I understand, Jennifer, I really do and my heart is beating hard as I follow your journey. I know that I would feel the same longing and impatience as you wait – for years and years. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope, along with all of your readers, that there is a joyful ending to this story. xoxo
Thanks for leaning in for a listen, friend:)
I appreciate your understanding. Yes, there is joy,
today and along the way. I appreciate your read so much.
Dear Jennifer, I so appreciate how you tell your story.Such agony.Bless your heart for searching with every inch of courage.
Warm hearty hugs.
Warm, hearty hugs right back to you, Julia:)
Oh, gosh, I can imagine that tidal wave of emotion knocking you over when you saw her face the first time. I admire your restraint in waiting so long. I couldn’t have. Hugs, sweet Jennifer!
Thanks for coming by and taking the time, friend.
Your encouragement and input mean such a lot to me.
I appreciate. So much.
I stopped breathing…when you saw her face.
Thanks for feeling what I felt; it means the world, Kathy. xoxoxo
You express yourself very well, I really appreciate your sharing. Warm hugs.
Thanks Linda – I appreciate your visit and warm comment:)
Big hug back,
You speak to me and I wonder if this will be the experience of the two birthmothers of my children… I wonder if they are still alive. Still thinking of the treasures they entrusted to me all those year ago. Hugs.
I don’t know, Fi. I’ve talked with so many, and read even more, and all the stories are so unique.
I know your treasures are so very much your own and so very lucky to have you for a mom. I so respect the mother of my daughter – it’s beyond respect. Gratitude and honor. You are beloved. I cheer and support you.
Absolutely astonishingly beautiful and poignant writing and feeling — so real and so much heart and soul in this. Thank you for opening up your world to us.
Thanks so much for saying, Emily; your words encourage in a big way.
I appreciate your presence here:)
I pray that my own birthmother somehow knows the love, respect, and longing that I have for her that I feel through your words. She gave me life and the two most wonderful parents in the world. If only to know her name and see her eyes. Would they be like mine? Would it heal or hurt? Only God knows, so I continue to pray for her and that he holds this twice orphaned little girl in the palm of his hand. XOXOXO
I don’t know, Patty. I think the knowing would be a healing thing even if it’s not the story you’re wanting.
I support you in whatever you choose to do. You’re loved and held safe in arms that never leave – this I believe.
And I know for sure this: I’m with you;)
Your story is so very special. The memories of my time of surprised pregnancy from a young man I barely knew. Not married. Decisions of what to do. Fear from every angle. My story has a semi-sweet ending, and I pray that yours will have a very happy ending, my dear friend.
Sometimes I wonder if there are even endings. You know?
If they’re all just beginnings of another sort. Just a thought I play with sometimes.
Thanks for coming by and sharing your heart, Sharon – I appreciate:)
Gulp! I love it and am so proud of you!!! love you to the moon and back!
Big, big, big, big, BIG hug;)
Love and thanks and all that;)
What a gift you are giving us all. Thank you.
Thanks for seeing it that way, Amanda.
It’s how I meant and it means the world for you to say.
She’s had the gift of two families that have loved her, one from afar. If she doesn’t know it now, she will soon. Your tender heart of love is so evident and it’s a treasure to your whole family. Beautiful words that paint a picture of bottled love that is being released at last. Love you, Jen, and so proud of you and your heart. Mom
Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart, Mom.
I appreciate your brave words;)
In the grabby, pushy, achy spaces of your heart, I feel my heart pulling itself through the darkness into the light of knowing, your words, your heart, your tears, your pain and sorrow and joy. And above all, your girl.
I appreciate how you get me and say:) Thanks for your presence and support.
It means so much.
When I think of these, your, feelings in terms of years my mind and heart just can’t grasp it. And all I know for sure is thanks to everything in the universe for Google coming into our lives … love you so, sweet mama.
I know, right?! Genius:)
Thanks so much for your kind here-ness.
I feel it and appreciate:)
When I read this series of posts, my heart seems to leap into my throat and I can hardly breathe. Tears dampen my eyes. And oh, I am so with you. I know there are two or three endings to this story. The one I want, the one I fear and perhaps the one of never knowing. Sending hugs, prayers and great admiration for your bold, brave honesty.
It’s a healing journey for me and a joy to get to finally share, friend.
Thanks for your presence; I feel it and it nourishes.
Jennifer, I have so appreciated this inside look you have allowed each of us to walk with you.
Thanks for stopping and sharing, Wanda;
I so appreciate:)