I never thought in a million years I would ever hear from the woman that gave me up when I was a small child all those years ago, but today I got a letter from her in the mail. At first, I didn't recognize the name or the address, but when I saw the photo she had enclosed, my heart nearly stopped beating.
It was a letter from the woman that had birthed me 30 odd years ago. My mother.
The letter was rather short, but I could tell that she had been thinking of me all these years. It probably hurt her to write the letter; she was probably afraid that I would be angry at her for abandoning me like she did, but as I read the letter, I slowly understood the logic behind her decision. Mother had three children of her own; she grew up in a poor family and could not afford to have an extra mouth to feed, so she gave me up to be adopted. Her husband (our daddy) had left her for another woman, leaving her to raise two kids (plus one extra, which only tightened the already skimpy family budget).
Here is what the letter said:
"My Dearest Patty:
This is your mother. My name is Ruthe Quebedeaux. I am living in Bogalusa, Louisiana. I think of you every day, ever since I had to give you up for adoption shortly after you were born. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make; it about killed me; as a result, my health has suffered terribly.
I will not go into details, but I am writing to ask for your prayers and your blessing. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me for not being there when you grew up or needed me, and I pray you have had a good life. I am trying to forgive myself; the pain is literally eating me alive.
You have a brother and a sister; their names are Patrick and Paulina; both are older by two years (Patrick) and four years (Paulina). I wish I could have kept you, but money was tight, and then Papa left, and you were a sickly baby who demanded attention and I felt I could not give you the attention you deserved, so I made the heartwrenching decision to have you placed for adoption.
The last time I saw you was when I placed you in the orphanage director's arms. Oh, how I cried! I have cried many tears since.
I have often wondered what you looked like, or if the family who adopted you as their own has been good to you. I pray they have. Every child deserves a family and a home to call their very own; you are certainly no exception.
I have wondered what your life is like or if you are married, attending college, or doing something meaningful with your life. I wonder if you have children or not. I wonder if you are married if the man who chose you is good to you. Is he a good husband? What is he like?
Well, I just wanted to write to tell you I love you so much. I hope that one day you will be able to come and see me. I wish I could, but my bad health prevents me from traveling anywhere but to doctor's appointments or to the hospital. It is not a very fun life; I wouldn't wish this kind of life on anybody!
Please write to me; I would love to hear from you! I love you more every day; please find enclosed a picture of me holding you, as well as a picture of Patrick and Paulina. I do hope you will write back; I would greatly love to hear from my baby! May God bless you always!
With much tender love~
As always, your Maman."
As I read the letter, I could barely read it, as my eyes blurred with tears. I hated to hear the news that Mother was not well. I could tell that she had a lot of difficulty in writing it: the penmanship was sloppy and uneven. I wondered what could be going on with her health. Cancer? Multiple sclerosis? Some other insidious disease that was slowly eating Mother alive?
I knew I had to get to Louisiana to see her, but how could I break the news to my husband, or to my children? How would I react when I first saw Mother face to face? What did she look like now? What did my brother and sister look like now, and what were they doing with their own lives? So many unanswered questions richocheted through my mind.
~To be continued.~