21 January 2015

Infinite Loss

“It’s like Papito is on a trip. I miss him. 
It’s different when you are traveling, you have the hope of seeing them again.”

These sorrowful words came from my 11-year-old daughter as we waited for our plane to Tennessee. So much wisdom comes from my children. I wanted her with me that day. Traveling alone seemed too daunting.

Less than two days earlier, my father collapsed on his way into work; he was 76.

As we waited, we jotted down the things that we would miss about him …

How he loved the Iced Lemon Pound Cake at Starbucks …

How he could sleep just about anywhere …

How he used his fart machine to bring us to tears …

How he loved Halloween …

He brought us our piano so that my children could learn to play. He loved music.

My daughter insisted on playing her Papito one last lullaby.

The pain is almost more than I can bear. The loss of my father follows many losses that many are able to identify in their own lives. I acknowledge their losses too. But I ask that you understand the profound loss as an adoptee. I have lost many times over. I lost a first set of parents, I lost a foster family, I lost my grandmothers, my mother and now Daddy.

While I still hold the option to search for my first family, I am unable to bear any more loss or rejection right now.

I am alone. Some try to comfort me by mentioning my husband and my children. I know this. But who knew me before? My sister, yes. But my parents, all of them, held their memories of me. Their love sustained me for 47 years.

I will miss the man who intervened when others had questions about our public hugs and affection. At the funeral, an acquaintance asked if I were my father’s widow, then moved on to ask the same of my sister. Daddy wasn’t able to protect us from that pain.

He wasn’t there to accompany us to the local Walmart to pick up goods. We are too identifiable as different. I wanted a cloak of invisibility, so my brother-in-law drove us to the next big city to shop invisibly.

He can no longer be there to FaceTime when I feel weak … when words wound me.

He can no longer reinforce our story of family when strangers doubt my loyalty to him.

He can no longer comfort me in his love and support.

He can no longer show pride in my abilities to elevate my voice.

I am holding on to the last birthday card he sent me. He loved Hallmark and read many cards before choosing the one that said perfectly what he wanted to say.

This year, when I tried to form my identity without the lies of the agency, he was there, sending his approval and love, not on the fabricated day, but on any day in November.

I felt lost this summer when the agency had nothing for me. I called Dad. I mentioned that I wanted him to come with me. He just said, “They won’t listen to me, and they won’t give me anything either.”

Today, I am truly lost.

I am still wandering around … looking for him, but knowing.

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