I remember a recurring night-terror that I had as a child of about seven. I would dream that a mad-scientist melted my parents and my brothers into buckets (a sideways version of the witch in the Wizard of Oz) and took them from me. Children of that age typically experience night-terrors regarding loss of family and abandonment.
I woke at two this morning from a dream and was able to recall at least the last moment of it. In that moment, I accused my family of origin of stealing my children. I have this dream occasionally.
This may sound like an exaggeration but, in reality it is not. My children were taken from me by my parents and given to others to raise. I was not allowed to know anything about them or their families. They were lost to me completely, possibly forever.
My parents are good and loving people. They truly love me and were doing what they honestly believed with their whole hearts was best for me and my future, and for my children and their futures. They were absolutely sure, and they were wrong.
I have never given birth to another child. I did get to meet each of my children when they reached eighteen years, and I am building relationships with them but, I will never have the kind of relationship with them that I wish for, that the mothers who raised them have (and for the record, both of my children were raised by wonderful and loving families.) I am grateful for the chance to know them. I thank my Gods and my ancestors for returning them to my life. But I am a footnote in their lives, a welcome visitor but, a visitor nonetheless.
I have come to terms with my anger over my parents’ choices. I have forgiven them, and myself for my own compliance with their decisions. For the most part, I have learned to let go of “what might/should/would/could have been” because, if I do not, I cannot live in the present or the future. But my grief over what I have lost still visits me, and the pain of that betrayal by those who loved me, whom I trusted most, is evidently still an obstacle for me in trusting and in being loved.
It is not possible for anyone to take from me more than that which has already been taken, and yet, trusting that is a greater obstacle than I might have imagined it would be by now. I want to learn how to overcome that obstacle, if indeed I can.