I’ve had an emotional migraine.
Well, at least that is what it feels like.
I have mentioned periodically in my writings that I have been meeting with my mom each week to work on writing a book on her and Posey’s story since they overlap in the most miraculous of ways. Well, what I didn’t know as I started to partake of this verbal feast was that it would unearth some grief in me that I didn’t even know existed. I guess you could say we bury our emotions alive. At some point they will wake up and walk all over us…. if we don’t deal with them.
I feel like as my hands have been typing, my heart has been searching—seeking to understand the past to make sense of the present. And with each page written, I have stumbled, rather purposefully found this time capsule from the early nineties, a time period when someone came into our family. Someone special. Then that someone left.
As much as I like to be Ms. Transparent and vulnerable, I don’t want to expound too much on this part of my life or this person because honestly it’s too raw and I am just fully processing what my preteen mind was recording at the time. I am not trying to be that “cool” writer that is being cryptic and clandestine…it’s just that it’s not time to talk about this person yet because they are very, very dear to me. Trust me, I wish I didn’t even have this to write about these now unlocked memories of my life then my sadness wouldn’t be constantly palpitating in my heart—this melancholy visitor that knocks on my conscience would be just a fictitious guest of a bad dream. But it is real…VERY real. And I either work through it now or leak out sideways later.
As equally miraculous and sad as the last 41 years have been since my mom had a baby in secrecy-- there are parts of the story that my human-I—can-only-see-the-here-and-now –eyes grapple with. They just don’t make sense. Why does someone so special come into your life –only to leave?
I tell you all this because it’s really all I can think about lately, almost as if my void for his absence has been heightened by my own journey with Posey, “ Annie”, and my Mother. Sometimes I feel so distraught about it I can barely get my writing deadlines done. But I don’t really know how to email an editor with:
“Sorry cannot be creative today because I am emotionally checked out. The words in my noggin are being taken over by crazy monsters that have rented out space in my head. Could we push the deadline back until they evacuate and my sanity returns? Thanks and have a great day , Lindsay”
So I muster up some words and pray to God they don’t fire me or wonder if I my writing muscle is all tuckered out. I go about my day…not letting my wall down out of fear that if I let one piece down the whole thing will be washed away with the tears that stay parked nicely in my tear ducts just waiting for any memory to send them driving down my face. But at night once I hug on Roman, dance on his bed while singing the Chipmunks’ version of “Bad Romance” 5,689 times with him (yes, you read that right…) and kiss on Posey’s sweet, rosey cheeks, and say our prayers, I find myself pouring out my heart to my husband, Seth, on the sofa. I swear, I have made the poor man my personal Dr. Phil. For the first time in our marriage I am the one talking more at night—usually I am the one that is busting out the : “I am so tired, I really do love you, but can we break down all of life’s mysteries and quandaries tomorrow? “ And he smiles because he knows my attention span is short but my love is long and I shuffle upstairs to collapse in my pillow.
But lately, he has sat for hours to only hear me talk through what seems to have surfaced to the choppy waters of my mind— I am not looking for answers, just validation that it’s alright to hurt, to miss someone… to ask God, “Why?”. I told Seth the other night that the sentiments in my soul are so layered and overlapping that it’s like a ball of yarn. I don’t know where one strand of feeling begins and the other ends because I am just now comprehending that so much of what God has been doing in my life is interconnected on so many levels and I think it’s come to sobering reality all of a sudden—as if I have been staring at the underside of a quilt for 34 years thinking it was a meaningless, knotty mess only to have God turn it over and see that everything, everything was connected. I never in a million years had any idea that God would use my sickness, my infertility, to heal my soul and rewrite my family’s history.
One thing that has been really hard for me throughout this dealing- with- the- past-why-did-that-happen phase of my life is that I have wanted to talk to my mom about the sorrow that has cloaked me. To let her know that all this hurt—not because of anything she did, but rather to process it out loud with her at my side. There is no hand book on how to come to terms with losing someone in a very unconventional way. A way in which as I write about it my soul cannot fathom, my heart cannot translate and my mind cannot comprehend without getting emotionally rocked to the core.
Maybe one day I can write a book titled: How to grieve the loss of someone you did you loved and then they left for reasons the heart does not understand
Written by: Crazy Girl (A.K.A.: Lindsay Lane Jennings)
I knew deep down inside I needed to talk to my mom, to lay it all out there would be the hard thing, yet the best thing to do– she’s my greatest sense of comfort, my sounding board throughout all this. But, I was petrified and nervous to tell my mom as she has had her own wounds along the way, one of the biggest gashes of her heart being guilt. I was fearful that if I told her I needed to talk to her, I needed to understand and process what my 14 year old heart suppressed that maybe it would be another knick in her spirit. And it covered me in fret. I would think about it then get that horrific nervous feeling you got when you were a kid and you were called to the front of the room to share your book report that s-u-c-k-e-d. Anxious as all get out.
For the last two weeks anxiety has robbed me of my courage to talk to her and Seth has continued to be my little counselor, listening to me wonder out loud, cry tears of I-just-don’t-understand-what-happened, feeling tinges of rejection even though I know it wasn’t –it’s just how my heart received it. I owe my husband multiple co-pays for his patience and listening ears and surely he has put in enough hours to gain some kind of license for a bona fide therapist . But when I lie in bed at night one thing that I marvel at is that God knew I would arrive at this place of emotional mourning and gave me a husband that has known me since this chapter reopened when I was 14. This part of meeting someone you never knew was on this earth and then awkwardly losing them again.
But as much as Seth listened I felt like I wanted, that I needed to talk to my mom…but again the apprehension set in, I just wanted to avoid it and pretend I was writing this whole crazy, wild, beautiful heart wrenching story with ease—with emotional separation as one does when they write a documentary on “ How to Make Soup”. Problem with this approach: When people are involved in story lines, you cannot avoid emotions. To write a story without any heart or passion behind it would be like two robots in love—it’s impossible. And the other issue is I don’t have a third person perspective, I have a first person perspective. I.went.through.it.
Let’s be honest, you cannot write an emotionally engaging scene about the beach if you have never been there touching the sand, feeling the salty water kiss your feet. It’s the same for the human soul –it cannot share its experiences unless it has felt life’s jagged pieces, the rough edges the pierces and prickles. Those sharp ends are what make you and I human—they teach us to love deeper, dream bigger, fly higher. Often the most difficult experiences when felt, when embraced are the only ointments that can heal the most jaded of lives. Truth is there is not a shortcut to restoration or redemption. You have to ride out the thunderstorm to see the rainbow. So it is with this story of what God has woven–if I am to write this story whole heartedly then I need to reckon with my own life’s history that keeps piling up like a tower of pick-up sticks—only to tumble down when one memory gets lodged in the mess.
So last week, as I was in the thick of taking a bite out of that which is my life—chewing on the years of 1992-1994 I just happened to be driving to Memphis. I was there to visit a very dear friend of mine who lost someone she loved dearly and my three hour drive west was my own little therapy session: me, my brain that wears me out, my ipod and some Andy Stanley cd’s to speak truth into me. While in the land of the blues, I stayed in a nice, comfy hotel just moi (this happens once every N.E.V.E.R). It is about as rare as non-busy day in Ryan Seacrest’s schedule that I have endless time to return phone calls and catch up with those I love. Not because I am important, but that is just the phase of life I am in with two little ones at my feet. But last Tuesday night, I lay on my cushy white clad bed with endless time to kill and called friends and family back. I felt like a teenager all over again, phone glued to her ear, with no worry in the world except when my battery on my phone would die. One of the individuals I called back was my youngest aunt, Janet. I actually called her about watching my kids Friday night as they adore her and somehow in my Lindsay manner of I- cannot -keep –my- thoughts- to myself I found myself bringing up this topic of: I am having a hard time digesting all the sorrow of mom’s story. There is just so much pain involved.
And this is what my aunt said to me:
“Lindsay just talk to your mom about it. Her story is what God has used to make her so strong, to heal her. And more importantly: This family has spent generations not dealing with our issues….pretending emotions did not exist…only for them to be eventually be exposed by the light. Use the great relationship God has given you with your mother all to talk about it. That’s the best thing you can do. It will probably be therapeutic for her as well.”
I knew she was right but as healthy as our relationship is sometimes as mothers and daughters, heck as human beings it’s easier to talk about everything while talking about nothing. In other words if I just don’t talk about it maybe it will just evaporate into life’s air.
But last night Monday night I went to dinner with my mom. It was the first time in 34 years that I was nervous before eating dinner with my own mother. My tummy was taken over with acid—that acid that pours out as the overflow of the pipeline of anxiety. I kind sorta wanted to puke. But I did it. I brought it up. I didn’t pretend I was A-okay. And it was as much healing for her as for me.
I told her in the most loving way possibly I was having a hard time, more of a hard time with digesting her pain as well as the absence of my half-brother. Because now that I have been on both sides—the birth parent side,the adoptive side…it’s like someone heightened my hearts’ senses—that which was numb for 20 years was now throbbing. I really didn’t know what to do with what I felt, but I just knew I needed to talk about our families issues. Though my mom was an incredible mother, her past was marked with a lot of emotional bondage. But the highlight of the night was hearing the strength and peace in my mom’s voice…the verbal signals that God had mended that which was once very broken. There was so much forgiveness sewn into the strands of her words. What she was talking about was rough stuff, the moments of life that mimic that of the saddest scene of a movie in which you want to ignore, you want to turn your head. You can fast forward it but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And so it felt at that dinner, sometimes I wanted to cover my ears, sometimes I wanted to get mad, and at times smile at how far she has come. How far Jesus has brought her.
Just to see tenderness and mercy in her eyes as she recounted it all was such a testament to when life hands you senseless heartache God always has our good in mind. He is always working for OUR good.
I tell you all this because I met her for dinner to address a lot of my issues not so much for me, but for my children. I want our family to be one where we can get it all out on the table, where my kids feel safe when they walk in the door, where there are no more secrets as there have been for so many years in my family.
We all have our generational #$%^.
You name it: alcoholism, greed, jealousy, hypocrisy, keeping up with the Jones’, lying, infidelity
But, what I am learning is whatever “it” is will be repeated. It’s like the cycles are on playback mode. Repeating over and over.
Until someone says “NO MORE!”
You ask God to make a new way. To take the ashes and turn them into wildflowers.
History doesn’t have to repeat itself.
For years our family didn’t talk about anything that might lie under the surface even when it was bobbing its head. To the point that my mom didn’t tell A SOUL, not one that she gave up a baby until she was in her thirties. That’s secrecy at its best. That’s the crème de le crème of bondage.
So for me Monday night wasn’t just dinner—because honestly I am still reckoning with all that happened. But what Monday was about was pushing the STOP button on not talking about what lies right below the surface because pretending is easier than dealing. It was about me making a way for my children and their children to walk in freedom. It felt like a balm to my soul that night to sit down with my mom, the one who has been so dejected at times, but has loved me so well and talk about what happened from the heart—not as facts, but as a story. It made me love her all the more. And more than anything it made me realize we serve a very BIG God never limited by time,space, or our greatest heartache.
As I walked away from that magical night, I kept thinking forgiveness is surely the road to reconciliation.
And my friends, I don’t think God is done with this story quite yet.
Side note: Here are two great books on the issue of generational cycles and some pics below:
Because I think pictures make life and blog posts better…here ya go:
I know this isn’t the best picture, but I love it because it is the Mom that raised me and the one I love–the person she is when no one is looking. The one that shelved all that she was going through to play with us..to jump on the trampoline with us like she is here with Roman and be ever so present in our lives. As she still does today.
Thanks again for reading all the words that somehow get lodged in my heart–….xoox