Slowly the veil began to unfold. The stories of her life rolled from her mind. Feelings in check for so long emerged in rivers of tears. Why was she so sad, she pondered, when life was so right at this point? She rose from her bed and stared into the mirror looking not into her 50-year-old eyes, but into the eyes of that 16-year-old girl within her. Memories tucked away for so long overwhelmed her. Two short weeks ago she had awakened from a nap to the ringing of her bedside telephone. The quiet voice on the other end had tentatively asked for her, using her maiden name.
“Well, yes, ” she had responded, “that was my maiden name.”
Then the voice had queried if the date September 9, 1968, meant anything to her.
She sat upright, thinking, Oh my God! Could this be HER?
“Of course,” she had responded. “That was the day my firstborn arrived.”
“Well, I believe you are my mother,” the voice had simply stated.
Her entire body filled with ecstasy. Could this be real? Was this the call she had only dared to hope for so many years? More details were shared and the connection confirmed. They talked for hours and planned to meet the next day. This child had grown up so close to her, though she had always assumed her child was far away. When the call ended, she felt like jumping up and down on her bed like a schoolchild. She could not wait to call her spouse and friends and scream the wonderful news.
Her birth daughter had found her. She was so excited that she forgot her husband’s phone number for a few minutes. That night was bliss. She did not sleep a wink. The next day they met at the designated place.
After so many years, she finally held her daughter in her arms for the second time. She thought she would faint from the excitement. Her feet had not touched the ground for many days. Everything was going so wonderfully. Her daughter had accepted her unconditionally, and she accepted her daughter as well.
Life, she thought, could not be better. Now this. This terrible feeling of dread and doom…all these tears and no relief. What could possibly be the cause? Was she insane? In those young eyes, she saw her past. She was transformed back to the days when she was carrying this babe in her womb, with all the “shame” attached to her dilemma intact. Her folks had been livid when she had told them she was pregnant. Her father’s face had turned beet red as he called her boyfriend every name in the book– and some she had never heard.
Marriage, she had been told, was NOT an option. She was okay with that part. She barely knew this lad and had no intention of marrying him. A moment’s indiscretion had caused her pregnancy, not an endearing relationship. He didn’t even know she was with child. Still, it was her child, and she planned to take full responsibility and raise the baby.
Her parents had told her that was absurd. No one “kept” a child born out of wedlock. They firmly said not to expect any help from them. Her mother made all the plans; one morning she was simply told to dress and come with her.
They arrived at a large ominous building on the outskirts of town. This was where, she was told, she would remain until after her baby was delivered. No one was to know. It was not such a bad place. At least she was not alone, as many other pregnant teens and young ladies were also boarded there. The only problem was everyone was expected, more like required, to place their children for adoption after bearing them. After weeks of confinement and brain-washing, her daughter had arrived.
She had fallen prey to the home’s plan and left empty-handed. She did as instructed and went back to school, acting as though she had been living with an invalid aunt. Her tears were assumed to be for the now-deceased relative.
Life went on. Days turned to years; she got married and had more children. Never had she forgotten her precious firstborn. She had wanted to look for her but, on the other hand, had not wanted to interrupt her life.
Many times she had watched reunion shows on television and become nostalgic, never fathoming that she could be the next reunited mother. Never thought she would one day be facing the feelings she had had to close down so long ago. It came to her; she was now feeling the pains of the past. She sat on the edge of her bed and let the dam break.