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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Patel

Reflections on Abandonment

Jan. 26, 2017

[This post reflects upon abandonment issues both Steve and I had in this lifetime. He was adopted amid various concerns about his ultimate placement. I was the 9th of 15 children, one child each year; my mother was so busy that I was handed off to my older sisters for my care, and my bottle propped more often that not. I learned through my soul journey that the early breast-feeding of a child is extremely important, it is nature's way of helping the child transition into the world, and should be continued until the child is 2 or 3 years old, which also would assist in spacing children. I also suffered many traumas in my lifetime that caused me to feel abandoned, the little match girl shivering in the cold looking in through the window at the happy family gathered around the warm fire. The commencement of this post is actually the end of a long editing discussion that Steve was making concerning a novel I am working upon. I have left off my input at various points, but you can guess from Steve's response. Although some very personal details are going to come out about Steve's journey, as well as my own, he is willing to expose his own journey to assist others, as am I.]

STEVE: The Bobby and Marcy story is a wonderful example of what happened to me; a child given up for adoption because of social mores. I’m not saying my life would have been better if I had not been given up for adoption, but it would have been different, and I think that also is the point of your story. It is this points of embarkation, when life sends us in one direction or another, that is what we get. We take it and swim—we make what we can of it, using those circumstances as our opportunity to express our own particular set of individual gifts in varied situations. This is what we are doing. You and I are examples of different types of abandonment and loss, you with your big family, your inability to find the love your very being craved, the constant violations of trust. For me, it was the fact of early abandonment, the loss of trust in my connection to my own family, so that I was always an outsider. I had no point of reference for my own being, I was afloat in a sea of experience without a means of measuring it against any standard. I know that sounds harsh. Surely I had standards from my family that raised me. But they were not my standards, I did not see them as relevant to me, for they were imposters and not my real family, and therefore their values could not be mine. I was continually looking for my real family and never truly found it—as you did. You have found your family because you were allowed to restore the sense of connection that was lost so early for you, as it was for me, whereas I was on a different path, even though our paths have connected in the manner they did. This is our story. I piggy-backed on your own journey, because we were linked, your experiences became mine, and as you saw at the end I was even able to find the early restoration of my connection because you were, and in the seemingly neverending twists of THAT story, I was able to assist you in receiving the gift from your own family that restored you, and thus you could be the agent for my restoration.

Stephanie, I know that story is still so raw for you that it is hard for you to even try to understand. Some space is going to be necessary for you to open up to it. Trust has been difficult for you, as it was for me. In different ways, perhaps. I will have to think about that. I am so sorry for all the pain I introduced into this, and I know you don’t fully understand that either, and in a way that is why I am so…

No, I didn’t do anything so terrible except try to get you to abandon me, just because of that old tendency, and when you were so hurt I just—I had to take it on the chin what I did to you. I am sorry, my love, I am so sorry.

Okay, I won’t talk about it all, but it’s like the song, "I’m still standing, with my hand held out to you. " ["This is Love" Mary Chapin Carpenter]

This is true. In one way, I did not want you to abandon me. If you stuck with me through the worst, then I could trust that it was a true love; but this doesn’t eliminate the fact that I was also pushing you so I could fall back on the only identity I really knew, the one to which I clung like it was my life preserver, the one that was always left. Yes, she did stick by me, but it wasn’t because of the same passion and love—it was because of all the other considerations that you know about. My death was her out. That’s stark, but it’s true. She is a much happier woman now. I was a terrible husband, Stephanie. I was arrogant and nasty and quite disgusting in my habits. I didn’t give her much opportunity to love me. And yes, it’s true, there were other considerations on her plate as well, things that would not have even occurred to you—certainly not have been tolerated in your agenda. It was always about love for you, the search for that perfect love, and I respect that. I guess it is for all of us, but you were pretty clear that was what you were after, and you were willing to relinquish just about everything else. You just didn’t know how to find it, and maybe never could, because your heart was clearer about our connection, mine and yours, even though you didn’t know it. I hadn’t a clue. I was shocked, actually, when I let go of my physical presence. I was totally shocked by how much was there that I didn’t see. It was painful for me, I’m not going to deny it, and as you know, I do have strength and that allowed me to face it and try to find some way to put it all back together in a cohesive way. Of course I remembered you the minute I “crossed over”. That would be like saying I didn’t recognize my own shadow. I just didn’t know you, you were a stranger to me, something that was a mystery. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, believe me. More than. I was enchanted by your sense of humor, your ability to make fun in any circumstance. We did have some fun times, didn’t we? Oh, laughter, I needed that so much. You have no idea how much I needed that. That was what I seemed to get the most out of it at first—you were just so funny, so drole, so innocent in some ways and so wise in others. I truly did laugh at some of the stuff you would come up with, and it was so much fun feeding you all those tidbits and watching you try to work it all out. Your intelligence just came shining through, and that enchanted me second. And gradually I came to understand your strength, your ability to keep plowing right through, to set your mind on a mark and just keep marching toward it. You were like nothing I had ever met, I suppose a combination of all those things I didn’t even know I wanted, or needed.

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