They both died at 68, one by her own hand, the other, cancer. Both gone too soon as far as I’m concerned and both were in the light of reality, my mother.
One of the things you learn as a child who has been adopted is this; blood may be thicker than water but family is thicker than blood. One of the phrases all adoptees I know truly hate is, “Well who are your real parents?” Hell, I’ve known mothers and fathers who are anything but loving and kind to their genetic progeny. In fact, some of the most brutal experiences some children have gone through were inflicted by one or both of their parents. Like I said, blood may be thicker than water but family is thicker than blood.
Frankly, I only use the term adoptive mother and birth mother so the listener or reader can tell who I am talking about. In my heart, there are no qualifiers, they are both my mother. There is my mother Virginia who raised me and my mother Leona who surrendered me for adoption for reasons not of her making I would learn when we were reunited on January 8, 1987.
Like any human being, neither was perfect, but both loved me and from both I learned and gained an enormous amount. Both were instinctively supportive of equal rights for everyone and both were deeply empathetic to the underdog, the castaway, the persecuted. Both were fiercely supportive of my advocacy instincts. In fact, for years my mother Virginia was my number one confidant when it came to things like fighting for the Brady Bill and against the death penalty, when it came to fighting for Gay rights and disability rights and against things like anti-Semitism.
My mother Leona was, without question, my emotional and spiritual familiar. Time with her allowed me to learn a lot about where who I am came from. To this day she is one of the most emotionally and physically courageous human beings I have ever known.
My mother Virginia ended her life August 12, 1992 and my mother Leona died of cancer on December 19, 2001.
I can tell you that I love both my mothers with all my heart and I miss them both – with all my heart.
I love them my whole wide world and then some.