My mom lost a very dear friend of hers last week. This friend was quite a bit older than my mother and they’d been friends for at least 30 years. I remember going up to San Juan Island (off the northwest coast of Washington) every summer and spending a week with my mom, her friend and her husband on their property. We would play badminton, dig for clams, and bait crab traps with the clams. My sister and I would put on plays and stay up half the night roasting marshmallows for s’mores and then try not to giggle too loud in our beds as we were right above our mom in the loft of the guest “barn.” It had never been a barn to house animals, but the structure was built like a barn nonetheless.
Though my mom and her friend obviously had quite a connection, I didn’t have the same connection with her. When my mom called me Monday morning to notify me of her friend’s death and to ask me to come to the memorial service this Sunday, I was sad but not heartbroken. However, as the week has worn on I’ve found myself getting snappy at stupid things and feeling something close to anxious. I sometimes get that way when I have a lot on my mind and need to write, but I’ve been blogging so I didn’t think that was it.
As I was categorizing thoughts in my head as I tend to do and deciding what to write about for my post here this week, I came to the realization that though the connection to my mom’s friend was never a strong one, it’s triggering in me the feelings of loss that are always threatening to come to the surface. Just when I think that I’m coping well with adoption, the tornado I’ve mentioned before comes and sucks me in again.
I’ve started to figure out what situations I might find myself in that would trigger different aspects of grief. But I wasn’t prepared that the loss of someone I really didn’t know well would trigger my own feelings of adoption loss. I don’t miss my daughter more than any other time, nor am I worried that the relationship Nick and I have built with her parents is just going to suddenly disappear like I used to be. Those would be huge adoption loss scenarios. I think that’s what bewildered me most about this situation.
However, admitting that I’m dealing with this and writing my feelings down in the form of a post has been very healing for me. I don’t know how I will cope on Sunday. I might break down more than I expect to do, I might not feel anything at all, or I might be somewhere in between. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.
Have you had any triggers for your loss that you haven’t expected? How did you deal with those feelings?