The gnawing ache of abandonment


Aside from a chance meeting six months ago, it’s been nearly nine years since I heard your voice on the telephone, and nearly five years since I received a brief, “I love you” text on my cell phone. The small, anxious murmur, which though I knew it to be your voice, did not seem like you at all. I sat, paralyzed in tears for hours, clutching the phone. I had hoped it was a bad dream. I had hoped I heard wrong.

I had not.

As the days morphed into months and years, I learned of the grandsons I have never met. I came to know they existed because a friend who spoke to a mutual acquaintance, knew about them. I have never seen their faces. Never seen as much as a photo.

It was a shock to find out through this friend that I am the grandmother of two more precious souls. I often wonder if they have my eyes, my father’s smile, or my mother’s freckles. I am sure they resemble all of us in some manner. You see, you might want to deny your birthright, but you never can. Such things are always within us. You will notice all these little signs so deeply entrenched within us in the years to come.

I felt you slipping away, something I could never quite grasp at the time. It was something I was also powerless to prevent. You were an “adult”…legally. When you truly love somebody, you have to release them to do what they will, even when you instinctively know that they are harming themselves by what they are doing.

What I cannot understand is how two people who were always so close could so suddenly be so far apart in every way. I would travel a million miles to hold you, to meet my grandsons, to share a little of your joy in raising the boys…yet you live less than a half hour away and it feels like a lifetime. I have often told you when you were small, that it was the happiest time of my life and how overjoyed I was to be your mother-you were such a beautiful child. How electrifying; how blessed to share those moments of grace; how thrilling to be there at your discoveries, your proud achievements. It’s what you are experiencing yourself as a parent, I hope—such transcendent joy.

You have never replied to my letters, cards, emails, calls or texts, which we always used to share so happily. Finally, your spouse contacted me after the birth of your second child, forbidding any further contact of any kind. It’s a request I have respected, though in no small discomfort and perplexity.

Apparently you feel there is no need to explain or justify your actions, not to me, perhaps, but there may well be another who might feel differently in the future. It often seems to me that, in your pride, instilled and nurtured in you by whatever “therapy” you have been engaged in, you would rather feel “right” and suffer, than “wrong” and happy, if such draconian definitions even exist. What a waste of everyone’s life.

There is always hope and my faith has not wavered when it comes to you. This is one belief I continue to live in. Of course, I am not perfect—far from it; and there is no such thing as a normal family. We do our best in whatever situations we find ourselves. Your generation can never truly understand how wholly different the subtleties of marriage were in those days– how could you? We are all children of our time, whether we like it or not.

Whatever else changes, real love does not. Someday, we will meet again. I will always love you. Please come back

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