Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Missing: One Child


December 9th is her birthday. I’ve written of her before and here. She is somewhere in Bristol now, we think, but her plants are still in the window of a flat she had in Ireland. An aunt checks on them, does a drive by and gives us an update on the plants. Silly, you would think. But it’s all we have of her, her father, her sister and me.

Her father and I email each other today. My last email to her bounced. He has snail-mailed a card and gift to her address in Ireland. Our baby’s birthday, we say. And there is nothing more to say, she has dropped out of our lives.

She came quickly on that long ago day. She’d been so quiet inside me I’d worried about her. Distrusted the obstetrician and his soothing assurances. This was pre-ultrasound days. Her father and I’d been Santa shopping for our toddler when I felt the first signs of her wanting to leave me. Early by ten days.

I watched her being born, quite painlessly, in a mirror above me. She was placed beside me almost immediately in a little incubator. A perfect little girl with a nasty eczema spreading over her little body. She couldn’t tolerate clothing for a week so she lay, like some Hollywood star on a sunbed, in her opened incubator in the nursery window soaking in the rays of the healing sun. Stark naked. She always hated that story. The vulnerability of it perhaps, she never explained why.

She has abandoned us all, some of us more hurtfully than others. Her father got his FOAD on Father’s Day one year. I got mine in Manchester in January 2003 when I flew over on an emergency trip while she was threatening to kill herself. Her sister got hers a couple of summers ago.

We are talking of flying to Bristol next year, making it a trip to visit Cornwall and Devon and the Lake District and as a sidebar searching for her. We don’t want to make the trip about her as we know we would be setting ourselves up to be disappointed.

But if I were floating freely, untethered from kith and kin, I think I’d like to be found.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

12 comments:

  1. {hugs} Nothing more I can say.

    If you do make the trip to Bristol in the first two thirds of next year, do let me know, as that's where I'm based, and, if you'd fancy meeting for a coffee, or having a bed for the night (and base of operations), the offer is there :-)

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  2. That must be very difficult. I don't think I could bear to have an untethered child. A child that is lost to you. I lost a child, but I know where he is. Good luck, somehow, somewhere, someplace, your paths must cross and hopefully there will be some sort of closure or a new beginning. Feeling adrift and uncertain is no destiny to be living with.

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  3. My sympathies for your sadness and that of your close family, WWW.

    My husband's younger daughter was similarly estranged from the family from age 15, for over 30 years. She has, during the past 3 years, slowly built bridges with him, but not with her 3 siblings, as yet. So there is hope, but I think, sadly, the impetus must come from your daughter.

    Hugs.

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  4. Thank you for the kind offer, Jo. I spent some time in Bristol more years ago than I care to admit and thought it a lovely city. I was fascinated with Bath and the roman remains which is nearby. I will definitely look you up if we get there :)
    XO
    WWW

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  5. Irene:
    Thanks for the understanding, I walk around incomplete and I know you understand that - though your loss is far, far worse and I cannot compare the two.
    where there is life there is hope. I don't give up.
    XO
    WWW

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  6. T:
    And we can wrack our heads forever as to the reason why and there are no whys.
    I'm so glad Himself has found a way back, tho difficult it can be. We walked on eggshells for years and years with J. as anything could set her off.
    We keep hoping a maturity will settle over her like a magic cloak and everything will be kissed better.
    I can dream :)
    XO
    WWW

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  7. I am thinking and praying for you. Keep hope and faith, for if there is one thing I know for sure you are always on her mind.

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  8. FFM:
    What a lovely thing to say. She is certainly on mine.
    I feel I misplaced her, odd that, and keep looking and the most idiotic things set me off.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. I, too, have a lost daughter. She's thirty-nine now, and apart from a few brief moments together at her brother's (my son's) funeral back in 1998, I've not known her for thirty-three of those years.
    When my first wife and I split up, her mum got religious and indoctrinated the little girl into believing I was from the Devil. I guess she still believes it, or maybe just too much water has flowed....
    I'm neither bitter, nor upset, nor charged with guilt. All those emotions have long ago evaporated. Now, I guess I'm just curious. Her mother died some years back. I heard the girl married and had two children, then separated from her husband.
    Our lives are probably too far apart to ever touch again. Sometimes, though, I pause for a moment, and wonder.
    It's hard being a parent.

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  10. Hard to say anything helpful, really. Something about not blaming her/yourself and keeping some kind of door open - cards, e-mails without expectation of an answer. I tried it with my brother when he left England for USA, trying to escape us. Now he feels 'safe' he's started to reply.
    OF

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  11. RJA:
    Thanks for sharing your loss. I'm no longer surprised at how many parents this has happened to. None of us carry an exemption certificate. But we do carry a sense of loss.
    XO
    WWW

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  12. OF:
    Her dad is better at this than I am and I admire him for it. I've never done abandonment well (childhood stuff) no matter how hard I try, but I do email her and do tell her I love her.
    I'm so glad to hear about your bro. :)
    XO
    WWW

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