I have no idea what to do. I had never met my biological mother until a couple months ago, and now she’s wanting to be a part of my life now.
I don’t know that I want this and it’s stressing me out. I was adopted, and I’m 53 now, it’s not like I can just be okay with this stranger who didn’t want me 53 years ago, but now she won’t leave me alone.
It’s making me feel really guilty for not being into this whole idea. What should I do?
Let me introduce you to Hubert. After I received your message, I immediately contacted Hubert to get permission to share his story. Hubert is not his real name.
He grew up as an adopted child. His childhood was a normal one. He liked rock and roll, long hair, lava lamps, and ticking off his parents.
When he was in his mid thirties he decided to find his birth mother. Hubert went through a lot of trouble tracking the woman down. And when he finally found her, he discovered that his mother was not exactly what you’d call a model citizen.
What he expected was a sedate older woman with cookies in the oven and scripture embroidery hanging on her walls. What he got was an embittered woman living in a bad situation, in terrible health, with addictions out the wazoo.
But what hurt worst of all was that this woman had four adult children. Children she’d kept.
“I couldn’t believe she’d kept them but thrown me away,” said Hubert. “I mean, I’m grateful that mess wasn’t my life, but why not me? You know, you always wonder.”
So establishing contact with his mother was not the warm fuzzy love fest he’d envisioned. And it got worse when the woman learned Hubert could help her financially. She started badgering him for cash.
The irony is that she never asked about his life, or his job, or whether he had kids, or whether he was happy. She just wanted the cheddar.
Hubert, who has a big heart, helped her with money, but she spent it all on booze and other vices, thereby breaking his heart even more.
After that, Hubert distanced himself from the woman. When she realized the handouts were finished, her calls stopped. Their relationship was dead. End of story.
Except it wasn’t the end. Not by a long shot.
A fateful call came one evening. The call was from the old woman’s daughter who said the woman was dying. Hospice had been invoked.
Hubert totally lost it. He couldn’t explain why he was emotional. Maybe he was weeping for himself. Or maybe he was just crying because life sucks sometimes.
“I had to see her,” said Hubert.
So he drove halfway across the U.S. until he arrived at a dilapidated single-wide. He found her door half open, and she was inside alone.
The caregiving responsibilities were supposedly being handled by her other kids, but this was laughable. Her children had abandoned her. Her utilities has been shut off. One of her children had even stolen her bank card and was robbing the dying woman blind.
Hubert called his wife and announced that he was moving in with his biological mother for the time being.
“This woman needs me,” he told his wife and kids.
Hubert began cooking for her, feeding her, and reading aloud to her in the evenings. He spent his days changing her bedsheets, helping her bathe, and he cradled her in his arms when she used the bathroom.
As if this wasn’t enough, Hubert’s wife and children joined him in the labor. They all moved into her house trailer to help this woman die with dignity.
And as much as I’d like to say this story has a sappy Hollywood ending where everyone hugs and kisses and gets a shiny Oscar, life doesn’t work that way.
Sure, the woman was probably grateful for Hubert’s attention, but she certainly was not vocal about it. She never once told him she loved him. She never uttered anything that remotely resembled an apology.
There was, however, one night Hubert will always remember.
It happened when she was dazed beneath the weight of heavy medication and getting ready for bed. Hubert was beside her, helping connect a CPAP machine. The old woman took his hand and squeezed it.
She said, “Do you know that you were the prettiest baby? Do you know I couldn’t even bring myself to hold you, because if I’d held you I woulda never let you go? If I’d done that I woulda taken you home and just ruined your life like I ruined mine.”
That was all she said. Hubert had wet eyes and a clogged nose. All he could do was respond with a nod.
After her death, Hubert handled the funeral arrangements. And on the day of her ceremony Hubert was one of two who showed up. The woman’s other children did not attend, and nobody sent well-wishes.
But Hubert did. He stood over the hole in the ground and he bid goodbye to the woman because everyone, especially the wayward and hopeless, deserves a proper goodbye.
When Hubert finished his letter to me, he closed with this:
“I didn’t just forgive my biological mom because she deserved it. I guess I forgave her because I would’ve wanted the same done unto me.”
I hope this helps you, Sleepless. Because it sure as heck helped yours truly.