Sunday, 20 January 2013

Memories that were never made

This week is one that I find tough. It happens every year, but it never gets any easier.

It's a happy week, one in which the anniversary of us meeting Mini for the very very first time occurs. 5 years ago this week we started 'introductions' with Mini.
I still remember walking into his foster carer's house, past the kitchen where he was eating his lunch, not wanting to sneak a peek until I could see him properly and take in every little gorgeous almost 13month old bit of him. Then a few minutes after, his social worker came through and unceremoniously plopped him on my lap. She almost had this kind of 'finality' about her, as if, now he was on my lap, that it was all over, he was ours and she'd done her bit.
We had a few hours playing and just absorbing him with his foster carer observing, and popping in and out. As an experienced carer she knew when to give us space, and when Mini needed her there. We stayed longer than we were supposed to, and were eager to return the next day.

It's a week of being grateful, as I recall the difficulties that the NC had in that week of introductions. I remember the times where he didn't want to go through with bringing Mini home and I remember literally begging him, sobbing on the floor at his feet to let us carry on, to let us bring him home. Luckily he sought help from our GP, and confided in our social worker who allowed us to go through with it all, but kept an extra close eye on us, and delayed us applying to court to formally adopt Mini. I was selfish, but also scared and desperate, and I will be forever grateful that the NC was strong enough to go through with it.

It's a week of remembering, as the day we met Mini is also the anniversary of my dear dad's death. I refer to it as his angel day - I'm not sure what I believe around angels, but I do like to think he's up there looking down on us. Dad has been gone for 9 years now, and I can still remember many of the details of what happened 'that night'. My dad took an overdose, but it was about 24hours before he actually died, in hospital - he'd taken American painkillers which contain different drugs and the hospital had trouble finding an antidote quickly. In the end, the drugs ate away, caused massive internal bleeding and his heart gave up. Afterwards, we discovered that he had heart disease too, which would have made it harder for his body to fight, although he didn't know that. He was just 47.

My dad never knew that we were going to adopt. He never knew he would have become a grandad. He doesn't know (or perhaps he does?) that I tell my children about him, that he is still their grandad even though he's not here. He would love them so much. If I close my eyes I can see him playing tricks with Mini - pulling a ball out from behind his ear like he used to with me. I can see him having a kick around in the garden with Mini. I can see him tickling Dollop and laughing along with her as she giggles. And I can see him teaching them both all manner of funny faces with all of them in hysterics as they do it!
I miss all those things even though they never happened. I miss seeing the relationship between my babies and their grandad grow, I miss seeing my dad grow - he's stuck in my head at he age he died, perhaps that's a good thing. Mini and Dollop have other grandads with whom they have wonderful relationships, but I am sad that they couldn't have that with my dad too.

I won't share the reason my dad committed suicide, it's personal to him, and painful for me but I've always wondered why I wasn't enough of a reason for my dad to live. I know he was depressed and struggling with his situation, but I still can't quite get my head around the fact that my brother and I weren't enough for him.
So if Mini ever wonders why he wasn't enough of a reason for his birth mother to try harder, to be better, to be good enough to parent him, I can empathise, because I truly understand how it feels to not be enough.

Somehow despite the happy memories that we made this week 5 years ago, the sad feelings always take over. Somehow this week is even more emotional and painful now, as it's not just about my loss anymore, but all the things my children lost when my dad passed away. It almost sounds ridiculous because they never knew him, and he them, but still...

Next week will be happier as we'll remember the day Mini moved in, but for now, I'll sadly miss and fondly remember my dad...





20 comments:

  1. Hugs.
    I do the same with my brother that was killed - visualise him playing with Bonzo, teaching him the things he taught me etc. I think it's good to keep those memories alive!

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    1. Definitely good to keep them alive, just sad that those memories were never made in the first place... x

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  2. Oh Vicki, you've got me in tears. How very sad and painful for you and how poignant that this time is now marked by Mini coming into your life. A very emotional week that I'm sure requires great courage and strength for you to come through. I'm thinking of you. xx

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    1. Thanks Sarah. It's just a mixed up week :-\ I think I should feel happy and grateful, but then feel guilty because I end up feeling down instead. Writing this has made me realise that I'm still grieving and have a long way to go...but I'll get there x

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  3. This is so touching. The only light I can see is that you have a massive bond with Mini because of it - as you say, you've both been let down by someone important.

    I can't see that it ever would have been because you weren't enough though - people don't think straight when they're at their low points and in his head maybe he thought he was helping you.

    It's lovely that you have a happy week to look forward to. You're doing a fab job xx

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment.
      Yes, in my head I know that dad was only thinking of himself and couldn't see beyond what was directly in front of him. I don't blame him, or think him selfish as I know he was in the grip of something so hard, but knowing all that doesn't stop me feeling like this...I think it means I still have a long way to go in terms of grieving.

      I'm grateful that we have next week to look forward to, I know it'll pull me back up :-)

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  4. I'm so sorry about your dad. Any loss is hard but to lose someone to suicide is even more compounded and riddled with questions. I lost both my cousin and a friend to suicide many years ago. I'm glad that you can fuse the hardest bits about this week with the memory of meeting your little one for the first time.

    Thanks for linking up to Adoption Blog Hop.

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    1. Thanks Sharla. I'm sorry for your losses too, suicide leaves so many unanswered questions...even years on.
      x

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  5. It is so hard when someone isn't in your life anymore. My mum chose to walk away over 18 years ago now and she chose my step-father over me, despite knowing some awful things about him. It's hard to rationalise why people make decisions and why the bond of parenthood isn't enough of a reason for some people to choose to stay around. I think we are all on our personal journey and sometimes people just can't cope with their reality. My mum has since attempted suicide. I'm not sure there is logic involved with some decisions. It doesn't make it any less painful though. There seems a poignancy that you met Mini on the anniversary of your father's passing. A little gift from beyond that helped you on your way. I am a firm believer that those who have passed on are still with us. I wish that my gran and grandad were here to meet Katie. They watched us suffer so many miscarriages and I wanted to have the chance for my gran to hold my child. That never happened and I will always feel sad about that but I do believe she is with me every step of the way; cheering me on and giving me advice (which I don't always want to hear!). Sending lots of love to you in your week of rememberances and gratitudes. They are often so interwoven aren't they?

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  6. We are delighted to let you know that this post has been nominated in the ‘Most Powerful’ post category of the SWAN UK Blog Post Awards (aka The ‘SWANS’)

    Be sure to pop over to the SWAN UK website to grab some badges for these categories to encourage your other readers to also vote for you – make sure you let them know which specific posts have been nominated!

    If you tweet the SWAN UK twitter account using the #SWANS hashtag with the URL of your blog posts and the category you have been nominated for we will retweet it for you and hopefully get you some new readers.

    Good luck!

    http://www.undiagnosed.org.uk

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  7. What a beautiful piece of writing, just bursting with emotions. Thank you so much for sharing your memories, both good and painful ones on Oldies but Goodies this week. x

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  8. I found your post so moving - I've read it a few times now. Can't imagine what it must be like to have all those unanswered questions, or to know that all the logic in the world can't change how you feel inside. Yet through the sadness your love for your dad shines bright.
    I can see from the date that you wrote this a few weeks ago and really hope you're now in a happier place xx
    (congratulations on the nomination)

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    1. Thank you. I'm 'lucky' that I know why dad took his life, and there aren't too many unanswered questions. Even if I'd have asked him why I wasn't enough, I'm not sure he could have answered.

      I am indeed happier. Writing this post has been quite cathartic, and I know next year, I'll find it easier x

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  9. Thank you for sharing. Poignant as my best friend is on the cusp of adoption, but has her own unanswered questions too.
    Downs Side Up

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  10. This is a post that makes me want to know more about your family and the journey you've been on... always the sign of a good post. It is a well deserved finalist in the SWAN blog post awards. I thought you would want to know that the winners will be announced on 13th April at 2pm as part of our Undiagnosed Children's Awareness Day. Keep an eye on the SWAN UK blog or twitter where I will announce using @SWAN_UK and @RenataBplus3 ... GOOD LUCK!

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  11. Powerful post. So sorry for your loss of your father. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

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    1. Thank you - felt a bit cheeky linking up such an old post to #WASO, but it's the biggest loss I've ever suffered...and the most appropriate thing I've written x

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  12. Oh Vicki, my eyes filled with tears while I was reading this - it is such a moving account and so powerfully written. This week, blogging on loss, I wrote about how important it is to grab hold of losses and try to make gains with them, even though the loss never really goes away - when you use your experience to help Mini with his then you will be doing that in the most powerful way. Of course grief over losses doesn't fade quickly and that's as it should be, but deciding to use your experience of loss to bring understanding and hope to someone else is such a positive choice and it will bring great benefits to both of you x

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