A few nights ago I sat down and watched "My Sister's Keeper" and was really surprised at how I reacted to the movie. Of course I cried, and sobbed...I am a girl. And I am a Mother.
But what really amazed me was "what" about the movie impacted me so much. I know the loss that comes with losing a child, although thankfully mine did not die of cancer...she has simply moved on to her next life. What struck such a huge chord with me was Cameron Diaz's role.
Watching her one track, absolutely insane focus to keep her daughter alive blew my mind on a lot of different levels. Watching her scream, and kick, and fight, and finally break, touched me very deeply. Throughout the movie, the audience is able to see how her family reacts to her madness, from her husband who can take no more and suggests divorce, to the other two healthy children she neglects, and even to the sister who asks her who she is if not a "crazy bitch that is fighting for her daughters life".
Even I watched it and pointed out how nuts she was...how I felt she needed to let go of her own pain and focus on her family...how I could not imagine purposely sacrificing the well being of one of my children for another, how it was so obvious that she was disillusioned in regards to what was best for her daughter who was sick. And on and on and on.
And then it hit me.
I was sitting there...proud on my high horse...when it dawned on me that I had acted the EXACT same way in April. And May. And June. And July...and so on and so forth until I received the visit with the baby and her parents in October.
And at that moment it felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
After my freakout after placement, I acted absolutely insane for months. I searched the internet for hours, days, weeks reading adoption blogs and forums. I cried non stop for hours on end. Days would go by and I wouldn't move from my bed. And I fought with anyone I came in contact with, whether they did anything or not. I obsessed so much over those feelings that everything in my life started falling apart. I ignored my kids. I lost focus at my job. My marriage started to crumble.
My husband would interrupt my long internet searches to remind me that there were three children here who needed my love and attention, and I would stare blankly at him, then the kids, and go right back to my search. I tuned them all out. It was as if they weren't here. Or not AS important as the baby. And I would get angry at any and all of them if they suggested I was wrong. Friends, family...didn't matter. At that point, I despised them all the same.
There was never a question that there was any other option besides adoption. In choosing to do that, not only was the baby able to have more, but my own children would not be forced to have any less. And two amazing people got to become parents after many years of disappointment and heartbreak. It was the best decision. It was a good decision. It was the RIGHT decision. And everyone around me knew it.
I, on the other hand, was so obsessed with "my fight", whether that was with myself or the supposed unfairness of all of it...I was too focused on the battle I was waging to see what very real harm I was causing to all of those around me who love me and count on me for my involvement in their lives. The "D" word became very frequent in arguments between my husband and I. My kids walked on pins and needles around me for fear of provoking an outburst. Friends distanced themselves. I changed jobs. And my warm fuzzy feelings about my adoptive parents would evaporate some days and I would picture them to be just as big of monsters as the cancer's role in that movie.
The point being...I was no better, and in a lot of respects worse, than the crazy, grief stricken mother in "My Sister's Keeper". I say worse, because this was simply a tear jerker movie. I was guilty of those trangressions in REAL LIFE to my REAL FAMILY.
And like her, I reached a breaking point as well. Though my child could not tell me that it was time to let go (she was 7 months old...:) she was able to sit up and stare at me and somehow manage to assure me that there are things in this life that will happen whether I want them to or not. And that it is ok to surrender to those things that are bigger than our own wishes. And that life will go on. As small as she was, the wisdom she passed to me with those big brown eyes could not be measured, it was so big.
When I got home from my visit in October, the first thing I did was kiss, hug, and hold my children. And I made a silent vow at that point, that no matter what happened, they would always be my primary focus. They would not lose their mother to her own demons. Granted, it would have been much cooler if we had all been sitting on a beach together as they were, frolicking in the waves as the sun set...but for us, some hugs and a trip to McDonalds sealed the deal.
I don't really know what my point is in sharing all of this...other than to once again remind everyone...myself included...that it's probably not a good idea to judge people because you never know what you will do in a particular situation until you have actually LIVED through it.
More to come soon....