Many people believed that Eric was an alcoholic and there were times when I too believed this. There were times that he drank more than he should, for days longer than he should. There were times he made very poor decisions while intoxicated. His family had wondered if he had born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Based on the presentation of what that looks like, I highly doubt it. I think it ran much deeper and more complex than that. It was not simply a blame that could be passed onto his biological mother, though she played a part.
Eric was very open with me. It was one of the things that drew me to him. I have always been drawn to conversations of the heart. He allowed himself to be vulnerable with me from day one.
We had many deep conversations about our life, our dreams, our disappointments, our failures, and the things we took pride in.
He was adopted as an infant. It was a fact that was never hidden from him, but also wasn’t talked about. It brought a lot of conflict to his heart.
In all the years I was with him, the one idea he struggled with the most was the concept of unconditional love. I too struggled with that idea, though we had different concepts and went about trying to understand it differently. We had many conversations, tears, and battles over this. It’s one of those conversations that I wish I could have with him today, if he came back for only a few minutes. If you have ever lost someone perhaps you too have wondered what you would say if you got that moment.
We moved to Louisiana when I was in my last term with my first pregnancy. He wanted to find his birth mother. He had questions. Seeking out his birth mother was kept hidden from his adoptive parents. It was out of respect for them; he loved them a lot and didn’t want to hurt them with his questioning. He explained this to me from the get-go. I understood where he was coming from and joined him on that mission.
For many years I wondered if I had opened Pandora’s box by helping him in that mission. Today I believe I did not. Life is full of questions. Sometimes we get answers, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we get answers we like, and sometimes we don’t. It is just the way life is. It isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, understanding and accepting that, but it is necessary in order to let go and grow.
I spent long days at his parent’s house waiting for baby number 1 to come into the world. In that time, I looked through his baby book and discovered a document that included his birth mother’s name. And so, the journey began.
I made the random, uncomfortable phone calls because he was too frightened to do so.
“Hello, I know you don’t know me, but I am calling for my husband. He was put up for adoption in 1973 by a woman with this name. Are you a relative of hers and do you know how to get a hold of her?” That wasn’t verbatim, but it was close to that. It took a lot of calls before I found a relative of the woman whose name was on the document. I kept at it because this mattered to him.
I will never forget the day we met her at her house. We chatted for a while about superficial things and then I dropped a bomb. It was the whole reason we were there.
“You remember the day he was born?” It was what Eric wanted to know, among other things.
She did not.
She rattled off some date that was not the date of his birthday, not even the same month. He paused, his face froze for a brief second, and I saw him swallow. I knew in that moment he was just brought to the core of disappointment and hurt. I know this because the after-shock was seen, heard, and felt for many years following that moment.
I corrected her as he followed up with, “It’s okay”. He then asked her the million-dollar question, “Why?”
To be continued…
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