On Missing the Person Whom I Never Met

As the doctors cut me out of your body,
You took your last couple of breaths,
Slowly and painfully becoming unconscious.
And then the angels carried you on their wings,
To a place so distant from this world. To a better destination.
Before you could see the earth breathe life into your creation.
That you carried inside of you for nine long months.
Before I could even have the chance to grieve your departure.
Now twenty one years have gone by in the blink of an eye,
And I’m starting to miss a part of me that I never had.

Although the heavens have sent me many motherly figures,
I must say, I was selfish and I wanted you, my own mother.
I used to close my eyes very tightly and wished for you,
When I saw a shooting star, or when I blew out birthday candles.
But like with any other fairytale, I was shattered into a million pieces
When I finally realized that my wish would never come true.
My heart ached, and now it aches for my unborn child.
What kind of mother would I be without having  had you as my guidance?
What would I say when she asks for her grandma?
Will she be able to find her way back when she gets lost in a maze?

You make up fifty percent of my genetic makeup,
Yet I know nothing about you.
I never saw you. I never felt you. I never heard you.
When I look at myself at the mirror,
I sometimes don’t know the person who looks back at me.
On this journey called life, someone walks alongside me,
But I only see the silhouette of this body. A shadow. A ghost.
Who are you? Who am I? What are we doing here?
I know one day we will finally meet, at our tombstones,
But I have so much more of life to live. So much more of not knowing,

I hardly tell people this… you have to be very close to me for me to open up to you about this… my birth mother passed away while she was in labor with me, and the complications of the birth led to my cerebral palsy. I always had reservations telling people this (well, until now I guess) for various reasons, but the top two reasons were: the woman my dad remarried has done all of her best to fulfill the role of my mother and I did not want to devalue her motherhood (she and my paternal grandmother are the only women whom I call(ed) “mom”), and the topic was something that was never discussed in my family growing up, so I’ve always thought it was taboo to talk about with other people.

However, college has been a crucial time to (re)discover myself, and to be the most intact with my emotions than ever before. During each one of my existential crises, I felt like I knew less and less about myself, and the phantom pain was becoming unbearable. There wasn’t any painkillers I could take to make this excruciating pain go away, and it was so much worse than an itch that can’t be scratched. I’m screaming for help, but there’s no one who can come to my rescue.  I felt like I was missing a part of me. I was missing a part of me. I am missing a part of me. I feel lost and I’m not exactly sure where my “home” is.

As marriage and kids are not that far away (but hopefully far enough), questions about my birth mother’s past, family and medical history circulate through my head. Will I be able to protect my future children from all that I can? Although I was to believe she is living within me, I want something tangible. I want to tell my future children where 1/4 of their DNA comes from. I want them to know her, even though I don’t know her.

What would I say when she asks for her grandma?
Will she be able to find her way back when she gets lost in a maze?

One thought on “Phantom Mother: Missing the Woman Whom I Never Met

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