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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-07-11 06:48
Subject: [cancer|child] There's a hole in the bottom of her heart where all the love runs out
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, child, family, health, personal, radiantlisa
Last night I had another meltdown. By my standards, this one was fairly epic.

Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

We were basementing again, and when I say "we", I mean Team E— with an assist from [info]the_child. I had gone out to Cartlandia to fetch dinner. When I came back, my daughter was in the garage going through some old papers she'd found in the broken down desk I've never quite managed to get rid of.

These were drawings and cards she'd made me from the time she was old enough to hold a crayon until about age six or seven. She appeared profoundly sad. We spoke briefly about what she was doing, then I took the food into the house. After I ate, I went out and found her still in the garage, still looking at the old drawings.

[info]the_child was still so very sad. It was heart-breaking. And I know this precise sadness. Missing a sense of an earlier, simpler time when life seemed happy. The feeling sometimes afflicts me to this day. We talked a little, and she let me comfort her. I said, "Sometimes I miss being a little kid." She said, "That was the best time of my life." Meaning, before the dyslexia, before the teenage hormone storms and stress, before the personal issues which are hers to recount someday, before I was ill and dying.

She's adopted. We know nothing about her birth family, and we never will. My daughter feels that as a profound loss, and perhaps the core issue of her psyche is the dread and pain of abandonment. That sense of past and impending betrayal is a hole in the bottom of her heart where all the love runs out.

And me, in my dying, am abandoning her in the most profound way possible. I am tearing open that hole in her heart, and leaving floodgate that may never shut.

I understand this all too well because of my own history. My parents split when I was about four. My mother took me and my sister and moved back to Texas. When I was about five, my dad got custody of us from my mother. As my very first therapist said, back in 1980, by the time I was six, in psychological terms, I had experienced double abandonment. The continuity of the developmental relationship with both my parents had been broken.

The core issue of my psyche is the dread and pain of abandonment. There's always been a hole in the bottom of my heart where all the love runs out. This explains the ragingly co-dependent and highly depressive relationship life I led in my teens and twenties. Now, on the back end of 30+ years of therapy, it explains why I chose to go the route of polyamory and practice something of an All The Women Are Belong To Me dating life. By dint of decades of hard work, I've directed that energy in a constructive fashion; become loving and thoughtful and kind and attentive as a way of both easing my own heart and easing the hearts of those around me. I do not always succeed in those things, but I do the best I can.

I've chosen to repay pain and loss with love and kindness.

Now my child stands on that same path, for similar reasons. I will never be able to love her enough. I will not live long enough to help her through the disaster of my own early death.

As I said to Lisa Costello last night, she looked so lost. In that loss, I see the lost boy I was and to some degree still am.

And so I cried my heart out last night, for her and for me. I weep to even write this now, and doubt the wisdom of committing my words to public view in this moment. But this, too, is part of dying. This, too, is part of living. This, too, is part of loving.

I hope [info]the_child someday finds a way to patch that hole and let the love which is all around her fill her heart. I wish I could be here to see that day.

Post A Comment | 19 Comments | | Link

The NewroticGirl
User: newroticgirl
Date: 2013-07-11 14:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
All these long rambly things come to mind, but the core of it is that I love you, and a lot of people love you, and I hope that all the love that pours in helps even a little bit.
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Renegade Vagabond
User: khaybee
Date: 2013-07-11 18:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This. So very much.
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Debbie N.: love
User: wild_irises
Date: 2013-07-11 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking of you all.
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asakiyume: far horizon
User: asakiyume
Date: 2013-07-11 14:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:far horizon
There's not enough tears for all the sadness in the world. It makes sense that you were crying your heart out. Your personal sorrow and loss puts you in a place to tap into that great ocean of tears, and you were crying your infinity of them.

I dunno, maybe that's why our oceans are salty. (NO DO NOT SIC INSANE CLOWN POSSE ON ME--I DO ACTUALLY KNOW WHY OCEANS ARE SALTY!)

I don't want to make you repeat things that you've got in a FAQ somewhere, so if you have one, just point me there, but are you bringing up the_child as a single parent? Or are you and Lisa Costello co-parenting, or are there other people involved? (This has no bearing on your sorrow or loss, or the_child's. I just want to get the constellation right.)
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russ: lyles constant
User: goulo
Date: 2013-07-11 14:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:lyles constant
Perhaps enough love stays in, despite the hole at the bottom?

Good luck to you.
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User: kshandra
Date: 2013-07-11 16:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Boom De Yada
"Remember to clean the whale filter every few days" may be one of the greatest things Randall Munroe has ever said.
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User: angela_n_hunt
Date: 2013-07-11 15:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*weeps with you*

That's all I can do right now, but I hold that she will find a way to patch that hole too. I think we will all try to help her do so, even far away here on the internet.

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Queen of the Skies
User: queenoftheskies
Date: 2013-07-11 15:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Love to you and all those you love/who love you.
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Passionately decaying organic matter
User: miintikwa
Date: 2013-07-11 16:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I cry for your pain and hers.
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User: kshandra
Date: 2013-07-11 16:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I grieve with thee. (And thine.)
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User: alumiere
Date: 2013-07-11 20:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, Jay, I'm so sorry.
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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2013-07-11 20:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
finds a way to patch that hole

I hope her does too, I lost my Dad when I was 43, and it still hurts, a lot of the coping comes from the people around you, and what you let yourself do.

Abandonment issues color our world forever, its up to us to decide if we want to live there or just visit occasionally.
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User: melissajm
Date: 2013-07-11 22:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so very sorry that you and your loved ones have to suffer this.
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mlerules: Maypole
User: mlerules
Date: 2013-07-12 12:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
<3 ox
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User: deborahjross
Date: 2013-07-12 15:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As parents, we think our job is to protect our kids from the harshness of life. On occasion, we realize this isn't possible. It's simply beyond our capability. But what we can do -- as you have so clearly done -- is to give them the faith in themselves, the knowledge of their own resourcefulness. It may take a time for all the pieces to come together for them, but it does.
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User: dichroic
Date: 2013-07-13 04:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You know the Egyptian mythos, where your life is weighed against a feather In the scales? It just doesn't work that way, because life is not simple addition. You're giving your daughter a lifetime of love, as long as you can ( and thereafter, in that little icon of yourself you've installed in her brain, as parents do). You're also giving her loss and abandonment. Neither can cancel out the other.

But hopefully she'll decide that the gift of the love was worth having to go through the loss. (Can't speak for her, but I'd Gus's it almost certainly will.)
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Rick Moen
User: rinolj
Date: 2013-07-19 09:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay, I have something to say that I hope you'll choose to convey to your daughter on my behalf, and I say it only because I can say it with total lovingkindness and empathy, against all odds combined with honesty. It's this:

You've had, what, fourteen or so years of a real father who loves you. It is soon coming to an end, but those years are a fabulous treasure that will be with you for the rest of your life. It doesn't matter that your very real father isn't Han, but you are, doesn't change a single thing. It's all real, it's yours, and it's a gift beyond price.

I know that because I know your dad at least a bit, and because my own adoptive father, my real father, the only one I knew or will ever know, was suddenly killed when I was a bit younger than you are now. 45 years further on, the gift of his life is still mine to keep, and I hear his echo if I even try to speak.

Rick Moen
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Jay Lake: child-paper_dad
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-07-19 16:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Rick, when the time is right, I will convey this message to her.
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