I always wondered what ole’ Charlie Brown meant when he said that. How could grief be good? I suppose the addition of the word good, was meant to emphasize, and call attention to the next word, like Good heavens!
On my Mama C facebook page recently I posted a little observation that I woke to, that had me filled with momentary, palpable grief. The post read like this;
woke up with this deeply sad realization; every moment in public that he is with me my first born’s other color shouts to the world that his first mom was not able to be parent him. I tried to imagine if I was wearing a sign all the time that said; “my wife left me” or “my job let me go” or “my mother was not able to parent me” for any who were looking my way, and focusing on the “sign” that way. Thoughts on this?
The responses ran the range, as you’d imagine they might. But it was what people seemed to worry about while reading this post, that intrigued me. My facebook folks, were worried in many cases (on and off the fb page) about me, and my perception of myself as a mom. Or they were determined to assure me that when people see adoptees they do not think sad thoughts, they see love in action. And, lots of it in our case because we are so visible.
All of the above may be true.
But the post was not about me. It was a wail from my heart for an instant. It was my echoing grief for a perceived sorrow my oldest son will live to an extent his entire school age life. Or at least the years that include me in tow more often than not.
It was what I thought to be an obvious realization intellectually, but one I had not embraced so deeply in my cells as I did that morning, laying next to him, asleep in bed. I felt desperately sad for the fact that he doesn’t get to ever walk down a street with his first mom, who looks just like him at his side. He’ll never know what that’s like. Well, not until we travel across the country to visit her, when everyone involved is ready for that to happen. Then we can go out to eat, and he can feel invisible for a moment too. Not that that is what he’ll be feeling at all…
(Imagining that for a moment here.)
Back on the facebook page there was also the voice of Tara Kim, of Adoption Mosaic and an adult adoptee who wrote; I don’t think it’s uncommon for adoptees to feel like “seconds”. Especially transracial adoptees who never get a break to be able to, for a moment, “just blend in” with their parents.
That is what I was fearing, her words a nail through the heart of that moment in time.
Good grief is when you are allowed to grieve for someone, and that process allows you to grow and understand them too. Good grief is not a sad, bad, or weigh you down thing. Good grief is recognizing the layers of pain and joy that pass through us at all moments.
One of my dear friends saw the exchange, and wrote to me off line with a cautionary tone. She was reminding me that my children are children, and they need our light, and joy, and ease too. She saw in my public realization what many of my friends and “likers” were also seeing, that Mama C often leans to the heavy side.
There is also a part of my “Mama C” persona that feels called to talk about the hard work, the heavies, the painful parts, because I want to, and I do it well. This doesn’t mean that I walk around my house all day moping. This blog is my confidant in many ways, a public diary, a place to whisper and scream, cackle and pause.
I remember when Sam’s first mom, Tea, told me in the hospital that this child needs your joy, and that she would take care of the sad part.
Perhaps all of us are right.
Good grief to me means holding them both, but when Sam and I get on the teeter totter, it is more often his body, that is flying high in the air, as my largess holds the rest of it down on the ground.
It is a constant process as an adoptive bloggin’ Mama to hold so much. Maybe I am too heavy. Maybe it’s time to get on the swings? Oh that reminds me of a great picture of joyful and light me for this post..