|Jane and Lorraine, April 1982, about a week after her birthday|
Okay, I'm done trying to ignore it. Some years I do better than others but today, maybe because the forsythia bush outside is ready to burst into bloom, maybe because I'm packing to move and going through a lot of adoption papers, and finding letters from her from that first early part of our relationship, and letters from people who wrote me after Birthmark was published, maybe because moving upends your life and you keep making decisions about what to keep, what to pitch, maybe because the song on the radio coming back from the super market was that soulful She's Got You by Patsy Cline, maybe because I watched Long Lost Family two nights ago, maybe because...well, there it is.
Having my daughter and giving her up to be adopted is the single most traumatic event of my life. Relinquishing her was more than a life-altering event; it was an invisible barrier separating me from the rest of humanity. I would always be a woman who lost a child to adoption. I would find her, we would have a reunion, but nothing would ever be as if she had not been adopted. Our relationship would proceed, but it would always have that huge hole in it, and neither one of us would ever get over it.
This morning Tony and I got back from an errand around 11:30 a.m. and I saw the forsythia bush and thought, yes, this is just about the time I was being driven to the hospital.... She was born around 1:30 p.m. April 5, 1966, the year of the Fire Horse in Chinese astrology.
To those who don't know, forsythia was in full bloom on that day in Rochester, New York, and I remember my friend Christy Bulkeley driving fast on a road that was lined with forsythia in bloom, a blur of yellow. Christy was my only friend in Rochester; she worked on the afternoon paper, I worked on the morning paper, The Democrat & Chronicle. We were each the only woman who worked on our respective papers' metro desk instead of in the "women's department." She left me at the hospital and went back to work. Christy went on to become a pioneer for women in journalism, and we stayed in loose contact over the years.
I was alone at the hospital. My daughter was born. When I woke, my social worker from HillsideTerrace, Helen Mura, was there, thank god, because there was no one else, and she was good to me. I had a moment of wailing from deep inside; I was held down by two attendants, and given a powerful relaxant; I fell into a drugged sleep. They did not understand I needed to mourn my baby, now gone. Mrs. Mura called Patrick at work and told him. He came with a dozen red roses around five. It's after five after I write this.
Jane has been gone since 2007. We had 26 years. She had a hard life--adoption, epilepsy, emotional turmoil--and she chose to end it.
Some years I don't even focus much on her on the day of her birth. This year is different.--lorraine
Weird: I just looked up Jane's father and found that his parents lived on a street with the same name as the town in New Jersey that my husband is from. Synchronicity, again.