Poem: Long Ago


Long ago

two strangers met

and their fate was sealed

 

A child’s life

had been hurt

but a woman helped it heal

 

She took her hand

and brought her home

to help her learn to feel

 

Some days were hard

and both felt pain

life could feel surreal

 

But the woman

always was there for her

through every life ordeal

 

So even though

not by birth

as my Mother you are real

 

Dedicated to my dear Mom on her 91st birthday. You are my heart and soul. Thank you for the day you found me, brought me home and have helped me on my journey ever since!

Advertisements

Cosmic Birth


She walked into the crystalline night below an inky sky her thoughts following her like giant insects who come out only when old furniture is moved. The apparitions that stalked her, breathing their hot voices close to her ears, were ever present. It was like the dead air sound inside her head when the pressure gets too much; or maybe someone just over the other side was reaching out, trying to say something, but she couldn’t make out the words. A rushing, like the blood in her veins, pushing and pulsing. They follow her, so very near.

Where was she going? And where had she just been? The night air felt like a slap, but it was a sting of stars blasting her awake.  Had she been asleep? Walking through her life, but not conscious. Faces, distorted with mouths that spoke at her, trying to swallow her and eat what she was, would swim out of the darkness, grinning. Often, she would find herself in a place she wouldn’t recognize, naked and unaware how she had gotten there. Just like on this stark night.

The mirrored hall of reality was a twisted place. It’s maze of unending pathways looking back upon itself reflected nothing and everything. Where did she start or end? The mystery of the beginning was unknown. So, she would keep moving because stopping would mean pain. The grace of fluidity kept her whole, in one piece, so she wouldn’t shatter into a million shards and fly off into the universe.

It was understood that this was a lonely place. The voices may speak, but they would never hear.  She would always walk alone on roadways unfamiliar and distant from where she knew she belonged. There would be a mist that would drift in around her and hold her like a baby, clouding the world around her and making the edges soft. But this made others wary of her, because when she stepped out of the fog, she saw with great clarity and knew when the others weren’t true. And this made her different.

So, it kept her walking; away from it all. It kept her separate, even though the voices followed. She kept going forward, step by step. The ghosts floated close by, but the cool, authentic air as she walked kept her present.

And as she walked, her head tilted toward the dotted evening sky. She thought about the stars, planets and the universes. Mostly about eternity. How it all stretches out on and on. It started before her and will go on after she is long gone. And how she is following its call back home.

Poem: Dirty Wind


Born on a cloud

then

blown by the dirty wind

and caught in the corners

of an unnamed road

Picked up again and again

thrown into a hailstorm of frozen

pebbles

that bang together

but later

melt

turning fluid

then eventually

evaporate into nothing

and disappear within

the world

Poem: Birth


Out of the dark woozy womb

sliding toward the grasping fingers

They grab

then point

set a course to go

Crawling

knees of grass patterned words

written from The Mother

Until upright

feet meet pavement

and head far from the beginning

there is no turning back

It is black

unlit

Slipping farther away

deeper

Into no-one

or maybe

everyone

To wander and wonder

looking upon the staring reflection

and seeing

faceless recognition

Wanting to stick it

back in

and start over

 

 

Go Easy…


20150119_102458

Sometimes thinking about the past is appropriate, especially when you get news about someone that meant something to you, even if you haven’t spent much time with them in recent years.

Families are such slippery things–they are fragile and sometimes easily shattered. They also are defined by many different things, not just by blood. And often the ones that aren’t put together by blood can mean more. We define them ourselves.

When the some things that created them, like a marriage, dissolve, then they seem to disappear too–at least in the physical sense. But we may realize, especially at critical moments, they still linger within deeper parts of us; that these people who were once family are still dear.

So when I heard my ex-father-in-law is now in hospice, I found myself extremely sad. He was someone who had been very good to me while I was married. It’s been easy to recall so many memories of the kind things about him: his easy acceptance of our decision to adopt a HIV positive child, and his special love for her. And his overly enthusiastic attitude (and long conversations and questions) about my career as an EMT/Paramedic, something I didn’t always feel at home from his son. He loved the stuff!

I picture him as the typical unassuming New England man, quiet but always willing to help; that crooked smile, bald head and slight limp. He was my go to guy, always aware of what was happening with the weather, and loving to talk about it.

Maybe he’s not officially ‘family’ anymore, but in my heart he will always hold a very special place as he made me feel welcome and a part. I felt like family because of him.

Thank you, and may the rest of your days be easy…

wpid-0925130656.jpg

 

 

Happy Birthday Mom 


It has not been an easy year but this amazing woman reached this incredible milestone with the strength and dignity I’ve always admired in her. Facing tough setbacks in her nearly perfect health, she was undaunted by the changes in her. Her ever positive outlook on life has kept her moving and healing, but mostly is an inspiration to all of those who know her.

From the time I was small she taught me that I could be anything I wanted, something I have passed on to my daughters. Her help has allowed me to figure out my path and feel a sense of security. 

This time living near my Mother has been a blessing after spending  so many years apart. She has given me more than I can really express. And really without her decision so many years ago, when she knew adopting a little girl was something she needed to do, I’m not sure where I would be today. 

Happy 90th Mama. I love you. 

Who Am I?


This is the unending question of an adoptee. We go through life trying to figure out where we belong, who we look like, how do we fit in and who we are… It does not matter if we come from loving homes (as I did) or if we ended up in less than perfect ones. Most of us have this hole that just can’t be filled by the families that picked us.

image

It’s no-one’s fault. It’s just this genetic thing I feel that most of us yearn for deep down, adopted or no–to want to know who ‘our people’ are and what ancestral pool we crawled out of that made that person staring back us look the way we do.

image

Well, because of that longing that I’ve had just about as long as I can recall, I took the plunge, and sent in some saliva to a company a couple of months ago and got some DNA testing done. It’s a simple, but accurate test from what they say. I’ve had friends do it and while it cost a little, for me, it was worth every penny.

image

I’ve waited patiently for the results to come back and while some of them corroborated what my adopted Mom said to some degree, some of them surprised me. Here is what I found out:

Europe: 79%

  • Italy/Greece: 61%
  • European Jewish: 8%
  • Iberian Peninsula: 7%
  • Trace Regions: (Europe East 3% and Great Britain <1%)

West Asia: 21%

  • Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey) 14% Note: also places like Bulgaria, Jordan, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Palestine, Romania, Turkmenistan
  • Trace regions: 7% Middle East ( Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, Israel, Pakistan and Iran)

My adopted Mom had told me about my Italian heritage long ago and more recently that there might have been some Jewish background (although I still think of this more as a religion personally), so now it is all confirmed! It is very exciting to have some concrete information. She thought it was very interesting too.

But all the other cultural information was amazing. It kind of puts so many deep seeded things about me together now. Because as I’ve gotten older, and actually raised an adopted child, I have begun to believe that nature has much to do with how we turn out vs. nurture. We can’t get away from our genes, no matter how much we may think so. What is tied to our DNA is real, ALL of us. That is why we as a species have survived and do what we do all the time.

So then too, it is why we as individuals act a certain way, crave things, miss things, need things, want for things, feel certain ways, act a certain way, are shy or bold, crave a big family or like small family gatherings. I have always wanted to be a part of a huge family and now I wonder if it is my Italian/Greek/Mediterranean background??

It also seems to hurt me on some soul level when refugees from these areas are suffering; it’s like I’m suffering–maybe I am on some genetic level.This is the beauty of humanity and the binding of our molecules and atoms. We are all one when it comes right down to it.

Maybe this is the start of a journey to a distant place, a land and history that belong to me. A part of me that has not really forgotten. Because within my DNA my ancestors are carried: the memories of their lives, their footsteps, their journeys across land and oceans. Journeys that eventually brought two people here in the US together,  combining their DNA creating me.

And now I carry DNA and I gave it to my daughters who carry it on filled with all the ancestors from the ages. May we do them all honor.

 

 

 

Visitors


One wonderful perk of being closer to my Mom is that family visits her, therefore I get to see family members that I don’t normally see. When I was younger, much younger, we all lived closer, so my cousins and I used to see each other a lot. We played and bickered (mildly) as cousins will do, but I recall a general feeling of closeness.

image

This meant a lot to me, as I was always looking for this feeling of closeness, being adopted. It was easy for me to feel alien or the odd one out. But I never, ever got a sense from my family that this was the case. Just one of the gang–that’s who I was as I ran around with the rest of them.

So seeing my first cousin yesterday, his wife, her Mom and his 22-year-old daughter for (I believe) the first time–it felt pretty natural. He was one of 4 siblings–the quiet one as I recalled, but now, being 60, there was no hesitation on his part (or mine) to talk about old times.

image

His daughter is my youngest’s age and amazing: beautiful, talented and all the qualities one wants the youth of today to have. It was so easy to be with her, and his wife, who I barely know! Being spread out all over the place–they live on both coasts and his daughter in Israel–it’s years in between visits.

But I was reminded that family is not about blood ties. It’s about love, memories and caring. My cousins did a wonderful thing for me when their Dad, my Uncle, died a number of years ago. Something they did not have to do, but something that family does for family.

My own adopted daughter often feels outside and left out. I empathize with her and we probably have not done as good a job at making her feel a part. Divorce, lack of closeness of cousins didn’t provide the same kind of broth to grow the wonderful taste of love I have felt, even if it’s infrequent. When it does cross my path and my chosen family gets together, I recall the warmth, the sense of normal and the simple gestures of kindness that make life good.

image

I hope my own birth daughters can reap the rewards of this family someday too! So far they barely know them….

image

image

On another note: we had another visitor today. Luckily only my mellow cat and I saw it. Quite bold and inquisitive… checking us out. I snapped a few pictures before my dog or my sour puss saw this visitor, because then there’d be heck to pay.

image

image

image

This visitor would NOT be welcome I’m sad to say…..!!

PS Pictures have been rendered silly to protect the innocent 🙂