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I was placed for adoption (closed) when I was a baby and my adoptive parents were given a minimal amount of information regarding the circumstances. I was told my birth mother had struggled with substance abuse prior to and during her pregnancy, she wanted to give me a better life. I grew up feeling very alien in many ways and although I loved my adoptive parents, there were questions left unanswered about myself that I knew I would want to explore after I turned 19.
I found my birth mothers niece (the only contactable relative) on social media when I was 22 and decided to take the plunge and reach out. Needless to say, this opened a can of worms as my birth mother had carried me and given birth in secret. The family was shocked but not necessarily unwelcoming and through her niece I discovered my birth mother had only just began discussing wanting to pursue her own search for me with a friend of hers. At this point my intention was really just to make initial contact and let her know I was here, and that eventually I would want to speak with her, possibly in person but that this process would be just that - eventual. I had a few sit down meetings with her niece as it was more comfortable and we are close in age. The last meeting I had with her was about two years ago and she told me that my birth mother was wanting to speak with me, she told me she had been clean from drugs and alcohol for about 5 years and was very emotional when talking about her decision to place me. I just wasn't ready at that point in my life to meet her in person but I felt an inexplicable connection to her that I guess I feel funny trying to relay to people. There were many parallels in my life and hers, including the fact that my birth mother herself was adopted as a baby, her birth parents also having struggled with substance abuse issues. I asked for her address from her niece and was going to take the first step of contact by writing her a letter. I kept putting it off, thinking about it every day and now it's too late.
A few weeks ago I received a call from my birth mother's niece telling me that she had overdosed on drugs and died on Christmas day after getting into a fight with my birth father (they stayed together all these years). He was so stricken with guilt and sadness that he ended up committing suicide the day before I received that call. I really thought I could handle that news, and I wasn't expecting it to be good news when I picked up the phone but I shocked myself with how hard I took it. I broke down, cried for three days and couldn't understand why it stung as bad as it did. I understand that half of this feeling stems from the guilt of not having reached out sooner, but I'm also just so sad not to have gotten the chance to know her, I really do feel like she is the reason every good opportunity in my life has come my way.
I spoke to her sister on the phone for a few hours and she sent me photos - the first time I had ever seen any. She wants me to attend the service next month and I said I would but it's going to be so strange for me.
I'm currently stuck in a feeling of numbness and confusion, just wondering if anyone else can relate to any of the above? Any tips on grieving for the loss of people you've never met/how to explain the sadness to people in your life without feeling self conscious about sounding over dramatic or irrational?
Thanks for taking the time to read all that if you did :blue_heart: