I have a huge soft spot for movies and television shows and books about the supernatural, as I've mentioned before. I remember seeing Pet Sematary when it came out back in 1989. Although back then I wasn't equipped to think about it in the critical terms I am today, I remember thinking about some of its moral quandaries: what does it mean to bring something/someone back from the dead? What is lost at the threshold of death? What forces are involved that change things?
I especially remember thinking about the great sadness of the couple who lost their son and thinking that the father's attempt to bring him back as the child he had been was doomed to failure; the undead Gage was going to be the impossible replacement child for himself. He might as well have been adopted. And in his homidical rebirth, he fits the adoptee stereotype to a T. Sad, but true.
A brilliant friend of mine sent me an e-mail this morning on the topic of reunion. She wrote, very aptly: "I feel that adoptee reunions are straight out of Stephen King's book, Pet Sematary--you can bring them back, but they will never be the same again." We lose what we lose, and it's gone. Forever. We will never be the kept child. We will never have the place in the photographs or at the family table for holidays past. We might be in photos now, or at holiday feasts, but we will be haunted by our ghost selves, and we are ghosts for the family that didn't include us then. We can build relationships with our mothers, fathers, and extended families as adults, but our natural parents will not be the people who nurtured us.
I think many of us come to grief in reunion when we want what we lost and what we can never have. It's tantalizing to think about the "what ifs." I wish, for example, that C were a person on whom I could call for comfort (as one might do with a close friend, if not a mother). At least for now, I wish she were someone who would return my telephone calls. My adoptee hypervigilance is in overdrive, as I fear she is backing away just as surely as she took tentative steps forward. She might have good reasons; I just don't know, and if she won't tell me, I still won't know. I am excellent at inventing possibilities, such as wondering if she told her husband more about our contact on her trip to Paris, and he put the kibosh on what we have. Truth is, I just don't know and need to stop guessing.
I am trying to get better at living with uncertainty and realizing, as Joy told me so sagely, I will be okay either way. She's left me before. She can/might/will leave me again, although I hope she won't. I can't control what she does, only what I do in all of this. Perhaps I am finally mature enough to take in those difficult lessons of mindfulness and breathe, letting the worst of the doubts slide over me while acknowledging the ghosts and not allowing them encase my heart and soul in chill.
I have plans to visit A at his home for a weekend in June. His wife and son are going to be staying with C for a month while A is busy with work and fellowship applications. He invited me down, saying that he'd welcome the company. He has been a little distant and uncharacteristically quiet of late. I catch myself wondering if there is something he's not telling me about Newman family politics. Probably. But he'd tell me if he wanted to, and in the absence of that, I need to look forward and take his offer of a weekend away at face value. I treasure opportunities to spend time with him and get to know him better. Frankly, I adore the man, and I do wish I'd known him from the time he was born. We missed out on so many years.
Then I stop myself, and remember that we cannot resurrect the dead, or we will likely come to grief if we try. I will enjoy the man he is now and let the ghost little girl of me find and play with the ghost of the boy he once was.
I have been enjoying our discussions about family in the wake of my uncle's death, and some interesting tidbits of family history have emerged, such as my father apparently becoming drunk and disorderly as my uncle's best man! Dad, you are very naughty.