I’m riding shotgun down the avalanche
tumbling and falling down the avalanche
So be quiet tonight
the stars shine bright
on this mountain of new fallen snow
But I will raise up my voice into the void
You have left me nowhere to go
S. Colvin, J. Leventhal
I am worried about our future. As we approach the next hearing on Wednesday, I don’t know where life is going to take us, or rather what we will be made to pass through in the coming months. I haven’t worried that much until now, especially after reading some of the posts from my partner. He is more honest and forthright on our blog than I can be. It took a lot for me just to write out here for all to see. It has been made easier because of the beautiful responses, the support and love that people have shown us.
If I could imagine life without T, imagine the day of his departure and the days following, I might understand where Darrow is, but I am unable. I cannot imagine the emotional nightmare that awaits us. I have always had to be in the moment to really, to understand how something will feel. How will it be for example, to run into people every day who will ask about T? How will I manage the pain of hearing the “how sorry I ams” or watch as those around us are brought to tears upon hearing the news. How am I to deal with the recurrence of events, the hug, the crying, the awkward sensation that I am sharing a very painful personal moment in whatever public place I happen to be in.
In this respect it seems worse than a death. When someone dies there is a funeral—a time and place for the grievers to grieve. There will be no goodbye party for T—the idea is just too morose. Instead, he will slip away from us quietly, a car ride away and it will all be over. There will no be opportunity to mourn because for all we know, he will always be out there. I will be living everyday worrying about his state, wondering if he is being cared for, knowing that as the days and months and years pass, he will stop asking for either of us and will begin to forget.
It isn’t right or fair. But life has never been about those things. Life is what you make of it, including the consequences for the choices you make—we make—I make. We have chosen to foster and this is what we get for choosing this path. It is no different than the joy that has come our way through the adoption of our son Lucas. You see T has filled my life with the highest highs and the lowest lows. As we venture into the next few months I imagine that those highs will continue as we experience life as a family of four, but surely we will be pummeled by the lows that face us through his transition from our family back to his own.
As a foretaste, the other day I lost it in front of our attorney. She was blithely talking about finalization of Lucas’ adoption, guardians, executors and then we got to trustees.
Do you want anything to go to T?
What? How would that work?
A trust set up in his name for his education when he turns twenty-one.
Could we do it anonymously so he wouldn’t know it was us?
That would be difficult.
But when he’s twenty-one he won’t even know who we are.
Surely he would remember. He is almost 3 years old.
Maybe she could sense the crumbling that had begun inwardly. Maybe she wanted me to have the hope that I don’t have right now. Do you remember anything from that time in your life—I sure don’t? And then I saw it for a moment—my beautiful son all grown up, receiving a phone call telling him that two men, whom he had long since forgotten, had left him some money to help pay for college. It was that image of him that led me down the weepy, teary path once again in front of a complete stranger. She began to apologize, but I wouldn’t let her. She asked if I needed a tissue. I declined. I told her through the heaving that it is what it is. The emotions are just a part of it our situation—there is nothing that can be done. I was glad to say that out loud and believe it for a change, rather than cowering and then turning away as if there were shame in this emotion.
I was glad she has little kids and that she was empathetic. It is good for her to see the grown man in the pin-stripe suit fall to pieces over a little kid. She tried to comfort me saying that this wasn’t the first time this had happened and for a moment I wasn’t sure if she was going to join me in my tears.
It is the lows that I fear. I don’t know how low they go and I don’t know what that will feel like. I don’t know how I will make it to the other side. We agonized about whether we should move forward with the adoption—I wondered how I would ever be able to properly care for an infant while I am clinging to the sides of the deep hole that will open underneath me after T leaves. There was no way to know whether it was better to have Lucas around then or to be an empty nest with nothing to do but care for each other and the dogs and our broken hearts. We realize now that it was the right decision. Lucas is our son and he will be there needing us when our other son leaves. I believe he is a gift that we were given. He can never replace T or even repair the damage that will be done. But this lovely little boy will be the thing that makes it possible to reach the other side of the chasm that awaits us.