You better believe I’m bitter.

I’m not a bitter person normally.

I’ve written about the depression and emptiness I’ve experienced in the past.

This is not the same feeling.

I know, on an intellectual level, that I will gain nothing by being bitter. And that I am probably spreading bad vibes to you.

#sorrynotsorry

It feels like the devil has consumed my heart and it’s on fire.

I’m not proud of being bitter. Although sometimes my ego leads me to believe I am.

My biological mother, who, in this particular post I will refer to without the ‘biological’ label, is the source of my bitterness.

Let me go back a bit.

So, I believe that when a woman gets pregnant, she has entered into motherhood. Whether or not the baby makes it full term, a women’s mind, body and spirit have already initiated a change. From hormones. From hopes, dreams, fears, expectations, her companion, friends, family, society, books, the internet…oh my goodness, the INTERNET. Anyway, the point is that once a woman is impregnated, she is now responsible for more than just herself. There is another human life involved, who is affected by everything she does moving forward. I have never been pregnant myself, but this seems like a lot of pressure to me. And it also provides a lot of insight. I can see why people choose to not have children, to have an abortion, or to put their children up for adoption. Because it’s a LOT of responsibility. And that being said, my life was directly affected by someone who was not able to provide the basic things needed to care for a child, without help from outside entities.

For me, growing up knowing I was the product of (what my bitter mind refers to as) a selfish, reckless mother, who impregnated herself multiple times, without the resources to take care of us, leaving society to deal with us….well, you better believe I’m bitter.

I’m bitter because it doesn’t seem right. There are so many people who have the life resources to support a child, and yet an unstable, crazy-ass b like my mother has NINE of them. NINE. Of which NONE she could care for. We ALL got taken from her. All nine lives affected dramatically.

What the hell, Universe?? Seriously, it’s not right…

sandcastles

See, babies are bitter too.

Flash forward.

In March 2015 we found the rest of our older siblings, Danny, Darcy, Debbie and Darla. I’ve met Darla, and talked to Debbie and Darcy on the phone. I’m sure I’ll meet Danny when the time is right.

When I first met Darla, there was something about her that felt very safe and nurturing, which are words you might like to describe a mother. The first thing I noticed was her jet black hair and how skinny she was. She was beautiful. So, naturally I thought her fitting to be another older sister I could look up to. Ya know, how you do with big sisters.

She was 50 years old and had the energy of a 20 year old. She smoked. And being newly sober, I was sneaking cigarettes at the time, so of course I took the opportunity to smoke one with her. I pulled out my secret pack while we were waiting for our other sister Tammy to arrive.

I met Tammy (38) for the first time the month prior, and we were both highly obsessed with finding the rest of our family. So when we connected with Darla, we dropped everything and drove to meet her in Canyon Country. And it so happened that on this day, Darla was the source of information that our mother had just passed on January 23rd, 2015, just two weeks before I initiated contact with a search angel. But that’s a whole ‘nother story!

So, on this day we made contact with Darla, we had notified Erick and Lisa about our adventure in case they could Skype or call in when we got there. Tammy and I had a lot of the same instincts when it came to making sure our siblings had equal opportunity to be a part of the discoveries along the way.

I arrived first.

 

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Darla & Lori (me) in March 2015 on the day we reunited. Our first picture together.

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was sitting on a curb, smoking a cigarette with one older sister, while waiting for another sister, who would definitely not approve of me smoking. It was like something out of a movie! I mean, it was surreal.

So as Darla and I sat and talked about how crazy this journey had been, I told her she looked like our mom. At this point I had only seen one picture of our mother which I cherished and held in high regard:

 

 

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Our mother, Helen Victoria Behrens (32 years old?), circa 1974 with little Lisa (2 years old?). Lisa was her fifth born, after she lost custody from the first four, Darcy, Debbie, Danny and Darla. Lisa would come to be taken care of by Danny at times, and meet the four older siblings throughout her childhood on occasion, who stayed with their father, Helen’s first husband, and his parents.

If you read the caption above you’ll realize that this was taken after she had gone off the deep end. Doesn’t she look sweet, though? She may be wearing a wig and fake lashes, which she wore frequently, apparently. This description was included in my adoption paperwork.

As I previously mentioned before, I held this picture in high regard. Before receiving this picture, for 31 years, I believed she was either living on the streets, dead, or institutionalized. I never imagined her with a smile on her face, or with anything other than word salad coming out of her mouth, and definitely not with her hair combed, or teeth cleaned…and I NEVER envisioned her holding a baby so sweetly as you see in this picture. At least not around the time she conceived me, her 9th child.

Needless to say, this picture felt very counter-intuitive to a lot of the story I had convinced myself time and time again, so sure that a motherly relationship was not even remotely possible. I had obtained this picture before the news that our mother passed. So, I’m not exaggerating when I say that this picture shot my hopes up so high and so fast you would have thought a rocket shot out of my heart and turned the corners of my mouth up permanently when looking at it. Perhaps there was a chance that she would acknowledge me as one of her children…? I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much but…what if?

In heartbreaking flashes of realization, throughout later conversations, I would come to understand that this picture was just a tiny moment in a big life that had become filled with mental torment, self-medicating substance abuse and accrued maladaptive coping mechanisms.

Then Tammy arrived.

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This is where the stories started unfolding in greater detail about the true life our mother lived up until her dying days. Many realizations would come to me. I would obtain pictures, meet people, and develop new relationships with the older siblings.

While most of the time I’m not bitter, it sneaks up on me from time to time. But, it’s hard to be bitter AND simultaneously grateful for these people I would now come to know as my family, because, well, because, horses.

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The first day we met Darla and visited her place

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Brayden came and Tammy brought her hubby and kids to meet Darla and her family

Okay, so not just because of horses, but I have to say, I love them, and they are my favorite animals, and when you find out your long-lost-sister owns several of them, it’s pretty amazing. Some of those pics are from when we brought our loved ones to meet Darla. Here’s a pic of us with our hubbies:

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It’s been less than a year since my initial reunification and I’ve already created so many positive memories, which I hope to expand on here.

I’ve come to feel whole, meeting people who laugh like me, smile like me, think like me, act silly like me, and so much more. So while every once in a while my bitterness gets triggered and I have a bad day, overall, I have to say, I wouldn’t want it any different.

 

 

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