Friday, January 8, 2016

Mom Mysteries

L could call any day now according to the schedule I told him I was going to have.  It makes my stomach queasy just thinking about it.  It isn't that I don't want to talk to him.  It is that I am so nervous about talking to him that my stomach boils to the back of my throat.  I am scared I am going to say something stupid that will make him hate me.  I am scared I won't say enough and it will be horribly awkward.  You would think a girl who spent years in the telephone business would be better at this.
I was younger than this when my mother died
Up to this point, I have avoided asking questions about my mother.  The first message he sent me said:
 I remember your Mother I saw her 1965. It was not a romantic relationship and I was cheating on my present my wife and I told her then.
All of the questions I had about her fell to the wayside.  I didn't have the guts to ask him anything more about her.  Maybe I felt like his wife was watching over his shoulder and I thought it rude to ask questions.  Maybe I felt like it was an indiscretion he did not want to relive.  Maybe it hurt my feelings that it meant my mother did not get meaningful love no matter where she turned, and that was too difficult for me to handle at the time.  I changed my line of questions to focus on him and I haven't asked a single thing about her.

There are so many unanswered questions about my mother.  I have asked everyone that I knew to ask and have come up with little to no return on them.  In the DNA/Adoption support groups they recommend that adoptees write down their questions and leave room to jot down notes while they talk.  This seems like very good advice.  Between the nervous jitters and my genuine fear that this may be the last chance I get to speak to this man - I am bound to forget something or leave something out that he may be able to answer.

My mother lived in Stanfield, Oregon prior to going to Portland, Oregon.  Some say she ran away from home.  Others say she went to attend school.  I don't know what she was doing nearly 4 hours away from home.  I know that this is where I was conceived and this is where she died.

Why was she there?  Was she working?  Was she going to school?

L says he could not be sure that he was the father.  It sounds like she had more than one lover at the time.  Does he know this for sure? or was he guessing?   L says that after he demanded a paternity test he never heard from my mother again.  This has several possible explanations starting with he either ticked my mother off, or he ticked my grandmother off when she heard about it.

My Grandparents adopted me so no one could ever come take me away from them.  I am not sure how I knew, but I always knew "no one" was L.  They were so dead set against him that they told me I didn't have a father and to just stop asking questions about someone that didn't exist.  He might have ticked my mother off first, but he ticked my grandmother off last.  His name was not spoken in my presence.  Now that I know what it is, I can assure you it was completely foreign the first time I saw it.  She won that war until November 27, 2015.

In my post: The Story on Paper I mentioned that my grandmother hid me away because she was afraid he might come to Stanfield.  I need to ask if there were any mutual friends between L and my mother.  Did he know she died?  How did he find out?  Did he know the minister that owned the house she died in?  Did he know the boy who killed her?  I would like to know if there was any way my grandmother could keep tabs on him.

Why is any of this important?

The short answer is "I don't know, but it is."  The long answer is that I have spent an entire lifetime identifying as a copy of her.  I don't think I am an exact copy, but I am enough like her.  People loved to hold me up to some standard that she set in "very quiet and very smart," and held it against me when they wanted to frighten me into "behaving" around males.  I grew up making up stories in my head about her life and her death to try to figure out who I was.  I needed her to be something good so I could believe I was good.  I think everyone does that.  My own kids do that.

I want to ask him where he met her, how long they had an affair, why he was attracted to her, why was she attracted to him?  I am content with the thought that they didn't love each other.  She 19 years and 12 days when she gave birth.  He was 25 and married.  It was 1965.  Was he aware of how she felt about him?

I am afraid to identify myself with him.

If I have a single nameable fear, it is identifying with him.  He is the nameless, the faceless and the loveless.  It isn't about forgiveness or letting go of resentment.  It is that identity that scares me.  I am afraid I will disappear once I claim him, because she is already gone and I am barely a representative of who she was.  If I start replacing my characteristics that were always said to be hers, with his, then I risk losing myself to becoming "no one."  I know that is much too deep for anyone to go, but these are the things that drift through my mind.  I raised my kids to be her legacy.  I don't think they see themselves that way.  None of her descendants would be defined by anyone but themselves.  That was my contribution. It was hell trying to prove I was worth wielding her face.  (I look a lot like her)

A dead mother and a dead grandmother saved me

It is easy to get into trouble when you are young.  It is even easier to get into trouble when one lives in the middle of the wrong side of the tracks.  I lived there.  There were drugs and booze and all kinds of troubled expectations from a girl in that place.  My only safety net was the belief that my mother and my grandmother followed me around like ghosts.  They watched every move I made.  I believe that made me be a better person than most people thought I was.  At the end of the day I could look into the mirror and believe they would be ok, if not pleased, with who I was.  I gave them as few reasons as possible to abandon me to lost hope.  There was no one and nothing else to cling to.  I know that now.  At the time, it was my mission to finish their work.  In many ways, I still strive for that goal.

Where does L fit into that?  I feel like I have gone renegade.


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