Finding True North

“But what if the great secret insider-trading truth is that you don’t ever get over the biggest losses in your life? Is that good news, bad news, or both? . . . . The pain does grow less acute, but the insidious palace lie that we will get over crushing losses means that our emotional GPS can never find true north, as it is based on maps that no longer mention the most important places we have been to. Pretending that things are nicely boxed up and put away robs us of great riches.”― Anne Lamott, Stitches : a handbook on meaning, hope, and repair

Anne Lamott, you’ve done it again.

You’ve explained exactly why I can’t “get over” my daughter and why I will continue to mention her, to think of her, to pray for her, even all these years later. She is a part of the landscape of my life. Her birth marks my entry into motherhood and to “get over” her would mean living my life without a map. Indeed, acknowledging the sheer brutality of our collective loss as Mother and Daughter (instead of numbing myself to the pain by earning another degree, mastering yet another art, perfecting yet another recipe, learning yet another skill, serving in yet another calling in church) has helped me find my own true north.

I’ve stopped pretending adoption loss can be boxed up, tied up with a ribbon hand-stamped with the words, “Gotten Over,” and put away on a shelf marked, “Moved On.” While I may have learned to live well with the crushing loss, I won’t ever “get over” her and for me, this is good news.  It means I won’t ever stop being fully human and that is richness indeed.

7 thoughts on “Finding True North

  1. Never, ever, ever, will I ever “get over it” to do so would be to deny my motherhood, my life, my pain and my joy. I love you M- and once more with feeling (because I saw this today) God doesn’t do adoption, he into being born again!

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