Bitter

I couldn’t stop.

It didn’t matter that my son had called me last night and told me that he’d finally heard from his biological aunt about the funeral.  She had thanked him for his concern, told him of the nice service in the only town his great grandmother had ever known.  She had told him that family and friends had gathered, including my son’s biological father and “his family” at her home for the wake afterwards and “stayed for a few days”.  She didn’t mention ever thinking about inviting him or any conversations that may have taken place since her initial communication of this, her mother’s death.  She did tell him that his biological grandmother’s health was too compromised to travel all the way from Seattle for the service, but all in all, it was a nice family gathering, all things considered.

Z had likely buttoned up his bitterness about the whole thing, seemingly grateful and satisfied with the communication about the whole event.  There were no more tears, no more wishes for things to be different.  “It was nice of her to finally let me know how it all went,” was as close as anything to regret I heard.  I supposed this was how he handled the whole thing on a daily basis; it was how I did, too.  You take all of those feelings, all of those open, raw emotions, and you put them in a box.  Since the person and the situation isn’t in your face every day, most of the time, it’s easy to to close the box.  Hard to shut, perhaps, once it has been opened by something like this, but then once you are able to ease the lid down, the weight of your need to keep it closed helps.

But for me, the box was not only wide open, it was gaping like a black hole that kept sucking me further and further in, every day.  I couldn’t stand hearing about how Joe’s family came out to the funeral.  I imagined them all in their minivan, driving the many hours from where I now knew they lived, to the house I remembered Joe’s grandmother living in.  Singing songs as a family, him asking her directions, being equal partners, choosing their lives together….everything that I saw lacking in my own life and family, I saw in the picture in my head of Joe and his new life.

It was my gut choking bitterness that kept me sitting at the computer, looking for clues for who they were.  Joe, whose wife (I wanted to say “new wife” for how many times I’d covered my single parent objectionable past by saying that Z was a product of a “previous relationship”, as if I’d been respectably married and divorced rather than just plain old knocked up after my freshman year of college) had a less common name with an even more uncommon spelling, was easier to track down on the internet.  I found an article about her in the Des Moines Register; she was a therapist for children who had been sexually abused.  Great, I thought, he married a nice person.  A mean person doesn’t exactly go into that difficult line of work.  The article detailed her former life; she’d worked for international adoption agencies in Washington State.  The article mentioned their two children and their names, and featured a photo of the woman who was married to my son’s father.

I cried when I saw it.  She looked like me.

I had to get past it.  How was I not past it after all of this time?  I’d lived months at a time not thinking of him, of who he was now or where he might be.  Sure, it came back all of the time; when a friend asked how old I was when Z was born and the eyes around the table went wide; watching the movie Elf with the family and unexpectedly seeing a son trying to meet a father he’d never met; watching “Friday Night Lights” and the maturity the young man caught in a mostly similar situation.  These little jogs, all of the time, that gave me a wistful glance back and a moment to ponder the life choices that were never part of my experience.  But this KNOWING, this being aware of where Joe was, that he had a middle class life with family and children.  Even though I’d gone on to have all of the same things, somehow, it just didn’t seem fair.  My bitterness was irrational and angry and all consuming.

I had to find a way to move on.

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you for writing this, thank you for sharing these emotions with me. I’m overwhelmed by the “what could have been” of your life, and mine. I was blessed to find your blog.

  2. Thank you. There are days when my whole life feels like I’m thinking about “what might have been”. I hope you can find some peace about your journey, too.

  3. […] could, if I really wanted to, pick up a phone right now and speak to Z’s biological father.  In a fit of obsessive Googling and sheer dumb luck, I found some contact information a few years back that I believe may be credible.   Should I […]

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