Today I was lucky enough to be able to celebrate the life of a pretty amazing woman. While I wasn't lucky enough to have ever had met her, just hearing the stories about her brought a smile to my face and a warmness in my heart.
My husband, Kent, was adopted when he was just a baby. His birth mom was young, single, and alone. Her father wouldn't allow his child to remain in the house while pregnant. She left home, had the baby, and unable to support a child on her own, made what was probably one of the hardest decisions any mother would have to make. A decision made out of love, out of compassion, out of wanting to give this child the things she was incapable of giving.
Kent was almost 30 years old when he went on his quest to find his birth mom. His parents were moderately okay with his decision to do so. As a parent, I can understand the angst his mom must've felt when searching for the other woman that gave life to such an amazing man. The age of technology hadn't quite hit the world when his search began. Kent's first stop was at St. Anthony's hospital, knowing he'd been born there. They led him to the Catholic Charities, who had been the go-between for his adoption. After spending two months collecting as much information as he possibly could, there was a "break" in his case. He discovered his biological grandfather hadn't renewed his driver's license, and realized this was probably due to one of two reasons: 1) he no longer drove or 2) he passed away. Kent was sitting among the stacks at the Denver Public Library scanning through the obituaries on microfiche, with a date of his last license renewal. When lo and behold he found the name he was looking for. While his biological grandfather had passed away, it was from that obituary that he discovered his biological mom was alive--as well as three half brothers he never knew he had.
From there he learned for 30 years his biological grandparents lived a mere 10 blocks from his home. From the home his mom still lives in. From the streets he played on as a child. From where he rode his bike and went to school.
With names in his pocket, and forever engraved in his heart, he quickly learned where his biological mom was. With only two names in the Anchorage phone book matching her's, he called the first one listed. She didn't live there. Next, he called the second number. She was at school. I can only imagine how his heart was racing, how sweaty his palms must've been. The emotional tug in his throat that held the tears at bay. And so he did what any son would do, and began to write her a letter.
She received the letter, and within a month, it was his phone that rang. When he answered the phone, the conversation was easy. He met her for the first time a month later--just the two of them, at a steakhouse in Denver. Kent kept his emotions in check until she handed him the baby hospital bracelet that had linked him to her so many years prior. Knowing she had held onto that momentum, that piece of him, made the tears well up into his eyes and spill down his face.
So today as we stood around the "filing cabinet", as Bruce's (one of Kent's brothers) partner Jeff so lovingly calls it, toasting her life with the cheap champagne that she was so fond of, I couldn't help but think "What an amazing woman." And as they told their stories about their mom--funny, sad, silly, and just talked about who she was--I kept thinking the same thing. Although I wasn't lucky enough to have ever met her, I am lucky enough to be a part of the lives she brought into this world.