Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Birth

I fear evil.

A walk through the valley of the shadow of death would be a piece of cake compared to going to Philly.

It hurts me to say that. I love Philly so much.

I love it so much, I never go there. Because it hurts too much.

Philadelphia is where:

  • - I was made
  • - I was given away
  • - I was taken in
  • - I loved the family that did but
  • - I never felt like I fit in
  • - I moved away from
  • - I never, ever, ever return to.

In Philadelphia lives:

  • - My mother who wants nothing to do with me
  • - My adoptive relatives, some of whom do want something to do with me, but whose hearts I break because I can’t stand to go there.
  • - My immediate family, who may or may not know about me

Nothing in the last statement makes me feel good.

If they don’t know about me, it really sucks to be someone’s dirty little secret.

If they do know about me, it really sucks that they don’t give a shit about me.

I’m really working myself up into a frenzy over this trip. Of course this doesn’t help:

Bloody weather.

Trip Itinerary:

* - Gramma’s grave
* - Grandparent’s parish
* - Grandparent’s house
* - Library – removed. No yearbooks
* - Archdiocese Archives – removed. No yearbooks
* - WTF kind of city doesn’t keep yearbooks in it’s libraries?
* - My city, that’s what kind.

My city, where during the BSE your life consists of:

* - Your relatives
* - Your block
* - Your parish

That’s it, that’s the entire world. Your relatives, your block, your parish.

So when your, say, 18 year old daughter gets pregnant in the winter of 1963, it’s the end of the world. What will your relatives, your block, your parish say?

There’s only one thing to do. Hide her away until October, until that unpleasant bit of business is done with, and then you can breathe a sigh of relief. Who cares what it may do to your daughter. Who cares what it may do to that nasty thing inside her. What matters is: your relatives, your block, your parish.

What kind of a closed heart fails to realize that your daughter and her child are also part of your relatives, your block, your parish? The kind that believes: They don’t matter. They don’t count. They are disposable, dispensable, disgusting.

So why go? Why subject myself to this when it has me in such a state?

Because it’s also:

* - My block
* - My parish
* - My relatives

And I don’t feel entitled to any of it. My hope is that by seeing it with my own eyes, somehow I can cast off some of this unnecessary shame, this despicable weakness inside me.

One can only hope.

So I’ve got to get packing. Friday morning I head off to the valley of the shadow of birth, and face the evil there with new eyes. This is the first time I’ve gone back since I’ve known my real name.

I’m absolutely terrified.

11 complaints from ingrates:

Third Mom April 2, 2008 at 7:29 PM  

Hard stuff, Theresa. It is so time for adoption secrecy to fade into the sunset. I hope the trip isn't too hard - be good to yourself while you're there. You'll be in my thoughts!

Anonymous,  April 3, 2008 at 8:25 AM  


Adoption sucks - take care of yourself out there.


Unknown April 3, 2008 at 2:23 PM  

I just want you to know I totally care, really, really , really.

I wish I could help, you are incredibly strong, brave, and more worthy than most people I have ever met.


Mary April 3, 2008 at 3:35 PM  

Have a safe trip. In regards to the yearbooks, contact the HS or historical society.

Anonymous,  April 3, 2008 at 3:55 PM  

I will be with you in spirit.

Should anyone wander up while you're at the cemetery, be sure to stand tall and say "she was my grandmother". You have no reason to be ashamed. (This coming from someone who loitered around my half-brother's house so long I was questioned by a police officer who thought I might be casing the neighborhood. I never did knock on the door)

Like Joy said, you are more worthy than most people I have ever met, certainly more than those whom you inquire about in Philly.

Anonymous,  April 3, 2008 at 10:38 PM  

I wish you the best on your journey. I'll be thinking of you.

Anonymous,  April 3, 2008 at 10:53 PM  

I am sending you my fighting spirit to give you strength. I am sending you my love to give you peace my friend. I am sending you my shitkickers to wade through the bullshit. I am so with you inspirit. Hugs my friend.

Sunny April 6, 2008 at 2:59 PM  

Sening good wishes up north to you, T. xx

Sunny April 6, 2008 at 3:01 PM  

That was 'sending'...

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