We also are a regular hard working family, surrounded by regular hard working families.
But sometimes there's another part of LA that puts the pressure on. The image of things always having happy endings and wrapping up quickly. Today, I was waiting in the driveway at in'n'out burger thinking about fast food and how I wish grief and healing were fast. They're not.
When we lost our first adoptive placement back to the foster system... Baby AJ - I was devastated. But hopeful too - that someday wrong would be made right. I gave myself 6-8 weeks to grieve and then never looked back. (meaning I actually shut the door on a lot of pain and disappointment without ever dealing with it). Then came baby Ace. I realized with him that there was a LOT of pain I hadn't dealt with, because it was hard to love him from such a wounded soul.
After he was gone too, I felt so much of a failure. Not that I had done anything wrong per se, but that I wasn't strong enough to handle and absorb the wrongs done to me. I wanted to be their champion and instead I was just a wounded foster mom - unable to make a true difference in their lives - or at least the difference I had wanted to make. I felt helpless and really could do nothing on their behalf. Such a horrible feeling to have to let go of a baby and then let them loose into a broken and prejudiced system that wasn't necessarily giving them anything good. I couldn't even fight for their rights.
When we tried this last time, we got WAY more than we bargained for. I never imagined that I would be facing someone threatening to hurt my own kids. I never thought I would really be someone who had a restraining order against a dangerous and unpredictable person. (Can we just take a moment and think about the fear you are dealing with when you get to the place where you are actually granted a restraining order?) Its almost too much.
So on sunny days like today, after a fun black-tie event the night before, it's easy to wish for a fast food healing. To hope that the world will be bright and sunny tomorrow and nothing will hurt. Well, if there's one thing I am learning, it's that healing (like growing) takes time. And you can't rush it. There can be steadily brighter days. The amount of laughter may increase exponentially. But there are always smells, sounds, memories, and dreams that encroach in on an otherwise regular day. "I can't take the carpool lane because I don't have a baby with me" ...."he loved this song"... "yes, you can leave your Legos out because the baby isn't here to eat them"
All sorts of things, to remind. To remind you that he's gone - and not ever coming back.
Sometimes, even warm, sunny days in February can't bake grief out fast enough. Sometimes I feel like the mountain in front of me to healing is so high. In moving forward, I'm also having to look back. I can't see how I can heal without truly understanding where I've been. I see now that to have made it this far, I must have been brave and I must have had strength. I'm quite depleted now though. I'm jumpy. I always look over my shoulders and I'm crazy wary with my kids.
Over these past few months, we've had a specific soundtrack we play all the time. It's a mix I made right before G left. This morning I drove to have a mommy (fabric) playdate with a dear friend. In the car on the way, I listened to one song and kept skipping back to hear it again. I'll paste the lyrics below. I know I don't share my spiritual side super much here on this blog, but on days like today, when I wish I could heal faster, and I don't feel strong, it seems fair to share what I'm feeding myself to keep walking. I hope you find it as encouraging as I do.
Please Be My Strength - (By Gungor)
I've tried to stand my ground
I've tried to understand
but I can't seem to find my way
like water on the sand
or grasping at the wind
I keep on falling short
please be my strength
please be my strenth
I don't have anymore
I don't have anymore
I'm looking for a place
that I can plant my faith
one thing I know for sure
I cannot create it
I cannot sustain it
It's Your love that's keeping me
Please be my strength...
at my final breath
I hope that I can say
I've fought the good fight of faith
I pray your glory shines
through this doubting heart of mine
so my world would know that You
You are my strength
You and You alone
You and You alone
Keep bringin me back home