My mother who adopted me and gave me her world passed away a few weeks ago. She gave me her undying and unconditional love, a secure and stable, disciplined home, a father and brother, a fun, extended family, opportunities to succeed, encouragement, physical and intangible gifts, and the tools to navigate life through its many challenges. My first mother (also my first loss) with blind faith trusted that I would fall into the right woman’s hands and I did.
My mom gave me so much but what did I give her? Guilt starts to speak to me and here is what it tells me: I was a bad daughter. I didn’t give her the same unconditional love she gave me. I was guarded and impatient. I was unappreciative and didn’t even try to understand her. I gave up on her.
We prepare for death and finality but we never are truly prepared. My mom had been sick for a long time but only in the last year did I really try to reconcile my feelings and give her comfort in our relationship. I still failed. I kept our conversations light and uninvolved. However, I told her all the time how much I loved her because at the end of the day, I really did love that woman. It didn’t matter how little we could relate to each other; I loved and respected her and I am grateful that I ended up in her arms.
As an adoptee, losing my mom has brought out intense emotions. It is a second loss of a mother. It is having wonderful memories as a child, it is loving my mom, it is being happy that she is no longer in pain, it is being thankful that I still have my first mother, and it is guilt. Adoptees losing their adoptive parents is hard because we have an added layer of complex emotions. We already lost one and now we lose another. I am so fortunate to have found my biological mother 11 year ago but having her and such a great relationship with her just adds to my guilt. I want to be able to enjoy still having a mother without taking away from how much love I have for my mom. But I’ve been fighting that battle for 11 years. An adoptee’s life is constant internal (and sometimes external) struggle between being happy without upsetting the delicate balance of keeping everyone else in your life happy. It’s not our job but we take it on anyway because the weight of the guilt is too heavy.
I will miss my mom; she loved her kids fiercely and unconditionally. Love you, mom. RIP Brenda Joyce Carter Williams.