Friday, May 24, 2013


Lately I've been thinking about loss. Maybe because a lot of people have faced losses due to death, natural disasters and other things lately.

Loss is a "funny" thing. There is no timeline, and it doesn't even have to make sense.

There are all kinds of losses too, and I'm not sure which are most painful. There is loss through death, miscarriage, loss of a preadoptive child, and loss of a dream. Those are the ones that I have faced. There are probably more kinds of loss I'm not even thinking of. 
I lost my dad May 11, 1988. But really I lost him five years earlier when he had the first of several strokes.  But even before that, I had the loss of a dream. That was when I saw that most kids I knew lived with both a mom and a dad, and they did things as a family. 

My dad would pick me up every Saturday morning, and we'd go out to lunch and then he'd take me back home. That was my norm. And in a way, it was better than when he did live at home. I was young, but I can tell you that things were ugly. But when he picked me up on Saturdays when I was somewhat older, I had  his undivided attention for that time.

 I soon realized that he wasn't quite the same as other dads. He and his twin had serious fevers when they were toddlers, and the twin died. My dad was forever damaged. I think that sometime the loss of a dream--having things be the way you dream they will be--is a harder loss than some others. But in this case, I simply adjusted. Not that it didn't hurt. 

But even though he was delayed in many ways, my dad believed in me. I wrote for the city paper as a high school representative. My articles were in a special Saturday section. He always had that paper stuck down in his pocket and when we went out to eat, he'd whip it out to show the waitress or cashier. I was usually embarrassed and threatened to search him before we went in, but in a way, it was cool because he looked for my articles each week and wanted everyone to see them.
He and I went on vacation together when I was in high school. We'd rotate between two state parks. This is my dad inside a covered bridge in southern Indiana.

One time my sister and I talked him into going to Mackinac Island. He didn't like to break from routine, so it took some convincing.

This is my brother who I haven't seen since Adam was a baby, and my grandmother. I gave birth to Tyler and my grandmother died a week later without ever meeting him. He was the first great grandchild for her. I gave birth to Jessica a year later and my uncle died. So two births tied to two deaths.

At least with death there is closure.

A loss that is unique to adoptive parents is the loss of a child. Either a parent (and in some cases one you were told had died) shows up at the orphanage to reclaim him, or you don't have the money to add another child, or you can't get someone to update your paperwork. Those losses are hard. And there is not always any closure. You often don't know what ever happened to the child. You just pray the parent is caring for him or another family adopted him and loves him.

Sometimes the loss comes after you adopt the child. You picture the child becoming part of your family, playing sports, going to the zoo, cooking out etc. You don't picture the child telling people you starve him, lock him in the closet and refuse to buy him clothes. You don't picture him telling other people that he wishes he lived with them because if he lived with them, he'd be able to make better choices. You don't picture your child causing friends to question your parenting and home life or taking all his siblings special treats and possessions. I guess that falls under loss of a dream too.

Lately it seems people have lost children to guns, tornadoes, fires and abuse. Sometimes it seems so crazy and so senseless.

Yeah, I do know I'm rambling. I think I'm trying to reprocess things I thought were already processed. Some of it is because of I just passed the 25th anniversary of my dad's death, some of it is because I realize our family is complete. We cannot get the state to work with us either for foster care or adoption. There are some blogs I don't read anymore because they promote adoption and foster care and we just cannot get anyone to listen to us.

Some of the reprocessing is because I have a son who is not making good choices. Who thinks that since he is in Afghanistan, he doesn't have to pay his credit card bills or his car loan and hasn't paid them in over six months. Investigators were hired to find the car. They'd never find it, and he'd come home to find himself in big trouble. So I told them where the car was. Now I am the enemy. 

I'm also realizing a few other things I can't share publicly are not what I'd hoped.

I know this post is a bit depressing. But I bet some of you can really relate though, can't you? You've miscarried. Or  you can't get pregnant. Or the child you wanted to adopt died or was adopted by someone who had the money. Or a family relationship isn't what you think it is. Or you lost a job or best friend.

That's when you remember, this isn't the end. And like Jesus told his disciples, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

And you look for the good. For me:

Tyler  has had his job over a month and likes it. The Job Corp has reopened and he's back on the waiting list so will have to decide whether or not to keep this job or to go when the time comes.

Jessica is in summer classes and will be starting her senior year of college in the fall.

Adam is just days from graduation and is looking forward to marine boot camp and then college. (And then he goes into the marines active duty).

Jasmine tested into advanced band. She has made A/B honor roll 2 out of 3 grading periods and may make it this grading period too. Still waiting to hear about FCAT scores. Her team (the resource kids plus the intensive kids--all kids who struggle) won first place overall at field day.

The twins are both passing second grade. We are facing some issues right now, but they have made progress over the last three years. It's a step forward and two steps back. Right now we are on the two steps back, and I'm looking forward to the next step forward.

Any thoughts on loss?


Rose Anne said...

Loss of a perfect child, if there ever was one...
But we are working on the new normal.

One Crowded House said...

I agree with you- sometimes a death is not the worse form of loss- or the hardest to process.

AND that sometimes things you thought were "settled" sometimes resurface with some pain you didn't realize was still there.... hard stuff.

Kathy C. said...

Rose Anne-what you've been going through lately is crazy. Who would have ever guessed.

Tanya--So true.

Rebecca said...

I stumbled across your blog several months ago, but have never commented. This post really struck home, though.

2 years ago, I lost a foster child that I was in the process of adopting. In many ways, I feel like that loss was worse than a death, because there is no funeral, no closure, and people do not acknowledge it as a devastating loss. That child is out there somewhere--but I'll never see her again.

Additionally, because of the way that situation went down, I will never foster again. And with that, comes the death of a dream. I had fostered 6 different children, and LOVED being a foster mom, and that was ripped away from me as well.

Kathy C. said...

Rebecca--that is never easy. I do understand. Another county chose me for a child and our county would not update my file. I can't do foster care because we can't get our files sent from GA to FL. It is just crazy. Yet they complain about not having enough adoptive homes for older children (he's the last picture) or enough foster homes.

Kathy C. said...

The other children are three children in the O. in Haiti that we wanted to adopt with our twins but for one reason or another couldn't. If only we'd known there'd be an earthquake and all the children would be sent to the US we might have been able to pull it off.