Heart Attack

Heart Attack

By Daniel Harrison


I have to face it, after years of trying, I cannot, like Humpty Dumpty before me put my life back together again. I am not returning to the womb, I will never return to my mother’s arms like a mother and child reunion. But still I keep trying to undo what is happened, this pain in my chest that I cannot shift this ache, my terror of the world, my terror at the thought of being unloved.
Now people can offer all kinds of trite pick me ups, they can even act shocked at my pain, as if it is surprising, something that needs to be fixed at all costs, something that needs to be covered, dusted under the carpet. But as far as I am concerned being at this point, being able to fully express what has happened is massive for me. It has take forty five years of walking through the wilderness, going through reunion, studying adoption at Doctoral level, writing and going through many spiritual journeys and books in order to arrive at the point where I can speak my truth.

I cannot speak for anyone else, why would I when I know what it is like to be spoken about by book after book, official after official and person after person, all of them claiming to know everything about adopted people as a whole, not as individuals, either discounting our pain or talking about it in a learned scholarly fashion as if we do not exist as real flesh and blood individuals who have suffered as a result of these adoption policies. And when we do speak, we are treated as little children, people whose pain needs to be silenced, medicated, fixed, discounted or dismissed as ungrateful. Just like the good old days we even have adopted persons dismissing the pain of other adopted people, we used to have names for people like that.

The only thing I trust in regards to my adoptions is that of my own intuitive, interior, real, lived experience that is what counts that is what comes from the heart that is what is real. This is the dark river of pain that I was not allowed to feel as a child. This is the invisible umbilical cord, as Carolyn puts it, that drags me back again and again to that fateful day when my mother left, you cannot energy through denying that it exists, My mother existed in my heart, in my flesh, in my bones, in my soul, in my mind, my family the whole ley line of my family tree existed in spite of its juridical denial, you cannot undo energy with a stroke of a pen. Imagine how infinite, how deep this black river of my family tree is, it goes back aeons, you cannot deny it, you cannot tell a child that it does not exist when it is at our very centre, that centre where I feel as if a knife has been plunged into my chest, into my heart, the centre of the heart attack and adoption was and is an attack upon heart. I removed me from the centre of my being, it removed me from my ancestral river, from the arms of my ancestors but you cannot deny that river, it is in my skin, my heart, my blood, my brain, I am a living blue print of all that created me and all that has happened to me, no amount of denial, my own, my families or the governments can deny the fact that this wound happened. That I am still energetically attached to my mother, to my family tree, to deny this is to deny me of my life, of who I am, of my identity, of access to my soul, of access to healing and no I will not let you deny my intuitive lived experience, my rage, my anger, my frustration, my tears, my sorrow, the horror that this severance caused me. A stone cannot be a non-stone and I cannot be something that I am not.

Oh dark river, oh measureless expanse, you flow on into the distance and I cannot undo the history that has passed between us. I cannot return to my mother, to her womb, I cannot find love through her arms; I can only find love through me. But why is it that I keep returning to you river, why am I so heartbroken, why does my spirit broken, why do I feel so lost, so alone, so afraid. I know now that love is the most important thing of all, I know that, but why do I keep spiralling in endless circles back to her, to her womb. Why can I not let go of this fear of being unloved, why do I keep living like a child, why do I keep repeating this wound river. Dark river, ancestors do you hear me or are you like the mute all-knowing silver stones on the river bank, why do you feel so far away, why do I feel as if nothing will ever change, why am I still in this room, why do I still feel that nothing good will ever happen to me, no wealth, no joy, no happiness, that life is out to kill me, to get me, to deny me love and belonging.

I live my life with one hell of a lot of anger, frustration , attaching to one thing after another in the hope that it will assuage the pain, in the hope that it will make the pain go away, it is the fault of that, if that is fixed I will feel alright. If I have that, then it will be better. But I know in my heart that this is just an expression of my pain, of this loss, my poor wife rushes forth to fix that need only for the river to move onto something new to fixate upon. In truth I would hesitate to tell her the extent of my pain, often I feel that I have failed, I avert my eyes from others, lower my voice, try not to look into their eyes because I feel that I have failed. In reality I have been wrestling with a snake all my life, with a demon that was born with me, that I have spent my life trying to understand and deal with. I do not want others to feel sorry for me or event to tell me how to deal with it, only I can find an answer to it. Anything else would feel hollow.

I am grappling with attachment. I am grappling with acceptance. An infant is unable to accept that one’s mother has left; I have spent my life wishing her back, calling her back, trying to win her attachment back. Battling my attachment to my adopted parents, well how could they attach to me, I was already attached to another and my heart belonged to her. Not that my adoptive parents were at all safe to be attached to, I liken my state during childhood now to that of being a foster child with another name which tried to make it sound natural (adoptee). Well we all do our best in life with what we have been given don’t we? Back to good euphemisms, but good old euphemisms won’t prevent a heart attack, that moment of pure fear, of feeling that the walls are coming in, that feeling, the loneliest feeling in the world that there is no one else here but me in a room trying to deal with the unimaginable. How could I accept that she had gone? That would have killed me that would have provoked a definite heart attack. So I did the only thing that I could I kept wishing her back. Yes I will keep my heart for you and you only. But I don’t want to have my heart hung up over my mother and the fear that she won’t come back if I am not good enough anymore. I don’t want to live out of a heart attack; I don’t want to live a heart attack fear filled life.

But how do I break the umbilical cord? How do I find the courage to overcome this hurt? How do I move beyond the cot, how do I open up to love, up to myself, how do I leave the infant with the gun on the table behind? Writing it out is my way of opening up the dark river inside to the light; I have spent my life denying it in lock step with a society that has not wanted to listen, in lock step with the censorship laws of closed adoption. I have falsified my heart, spent my life not being true to myself and reaping the seeds of Shakespeare’s dictum “...above all else to thyself be true”, I have dragged myself through the mud for years on end running from the pain, running from and denying how I felt just like I had been taught to do. After how many counsellors are there for adopted people that know us at all? None, and then there is all the pro-adoption media and the very ideology that underlies it is pro-secrecy and denies that adoption has any effect on a new born baby. Enter an adoption article which I read recently, that lovely organisation Barnardos states that “...the adoption of infants at birth does not have much of an impact”. It took twin thirty four years of hard core drug and alcohol abuse before he could even admit that he had a lot of grief over his adoption. Thanks Barnardos I can really see where you are coming from.

This is a deep dark river indeed, this has been a long forty five years and still the river snakes back upon itself every time I feel that I am that little bit closer to finally letting go of my mother, of my family, of no longer trying to go backwards, of finally accepting that the only life that I can live is forwards, that this is it, It is a river that has trapped me in a dark room of hurt ego and suffering, sometimes I feel that I must be insufferable to my wife when I am having to negotiate another bend which is usually represented by my claiming that if this happened then I would be happy. It is as if I am in a play, one in which I am often unwilling or too pained to admit my role, to admit the depth of my suffering. An all too consuming role that can leave me focused upon me, my pain to the detriment of others.

But I want to let go of this pain, of her, of my attachment to her, I want to open up my heart, I want to move into acceptance of this heart attack, I no longer want to react to my life from the fear based perspective of an infant but the energy, the anger that I am dealing with is so intense. I built my life upon this severed umbilical cord whose energy never left me, my attachment to my mother continued to flow down that dark river, my attachment to my ancestors continued in spite of society’s denial of this. Would an open adoption have been easier? How can knowing that your mother, your very own mother made the choice to give you up ever be easy? Especially when my mother chose another man, still the pain returns. It is not as if I will wake up one day and hey presto I will be happy and filled with joy, it is after all a journey, maybe I am trapped in an infant’s line of reasoning, if she returned then I will be happy, if I have that I will be happy. But as I now know life is full of pain, joy, heartbreak, heart attacks, love given and love taken.

It is so hard to reach into the depth of what I feel, to be real, to no longer be fake, to hit bedrock, to be true, to no longer be playing games, to say what I mean, to love what I say, to be real, and to be me, no more games, no more acting. Yes I had to act in order to survive but there was a season for acting and that season has past. I survived her leaving, I survived a reunion many years ago in which I saw that I could never return, I have survived this long and winding road towards dismantling all that is not true, all that is false, all that I built on a foundation of fear and pain. Now I want to move beyond it in order to build on a foundation of love and truth. Can I do this? So often I feel broken, totally broken, mad, isolated, undone, spiritless, faithless, unable to let go and accept that there is a bigger picture to my life, that I need to let go and have faith, that it will work out alright, that I will be provided for. The little infant in the cot does not know that and has for too long locked the doors to love and life through fear of not being loved, of not being provide for.
Can I return to spirit, can I transcend my pain, can I transcend the heart attack, can I return to truth with no turning back?


Posted 27.11.2013 Within These Walls facebook group.