Tag: Jim Edwards

A Quiet Joy

by Pat Edwards

Telephone solicitors had ruined so many pleasant evenings for me that it was with reluctance that I rose from my comfortable chair to answer the insistent ring of the phone. It was the year 1993 – before the days of caller I.D and “no call” lists. The woman on the other end began asking questions, and at first I thought that she had the wrong number – although she knew my name. I patiently answered all of her questions, but began to wonder why she needed to know things such as my maiden name and that of my mother.

The answer became suddenly clear when she finally said, “My late husband and I adopted a baby girl, whom we named Stacey, almost 30 years ago. She was born on August 7, 1963 in Emanuel Hospital. Does this mean anything to you?”

A kaleidoscope of emotions and memories, accumulated and tucked away for 30 years, descended upon me. I have read stories of other birth mothers being found by their children. They frequently described an immediate and profound joy. The mixture of emotions I felt included shock, anxiety, shame, relief and a guilt that there was no explosion of maternal bliss. And, in the days that followed, I still found myself sorting through that mixture to try and discover what my basic feelings really were.

From the moment that I hung up the phone after that call, I felt that I was being carried forward by a force that I could no longer control.

In 1993, Stacey lived in a neighboring state. Lee, her adoptive mother, had been helping her to search for me when she made that call. Lee excitedly said, “Can we meet for lunch tomorrow? I’m so anxious to meet you, and Stacey will be so excited when she finds out I found you!” I numbly agreed to our luncheon date, but could not reach for the phone to call Stacey. It was too soon.

When I told my husband Jim about the call, he was euphoric. Within a half hour of the phone conversation, he had called each of our four adult children to set up a family meeting. Our son, who lived out of town at the time, wouldn’t be able to come for two days. At work, during those two suspenseful days, my phone rang several times. “Mom, can’t you tell us what this is all about? You and Dad are scaring us!” I tried to reassure them that no calamity had befallen our family, but I could not ease their anxiety.

After talking to Lee that fateful night, I felt as though I was on a speeding train with the throttle stuck open. My nerves were rapidly reaching the breaking point. Everything within me wanted to scream out, “Whoa! Slow down! Give me some time to adjust!” I needed some “space” to sort through what I was feeling and thinking.

I could not call Stacey until I had talked with our other children. I was confident that they would take the news well, but I needed that reassurance. I was afraid – afraid that I might not be able to live up to what Stacey would expect of me as her birth mother; afraid that Jim would be disappointed in me because I was not as excited as he; afraid that our children would be ashamed of me. I wasn’t experiencing that profound joy that books and articles so often describe.

When the time for our family meeting finally arrived, I was more than ready to get everything out into the open. When I arrived home from work, everyone was either busily fixing dinner or watching the news on TV. Their nervous glances at one another was the only indication that we were there for something other than one of our frequent family get-togethers.

I called them into the living room and sat cross-legged on the floor in front of Jim’s big easy chair. Slowly and deliberately, Jim began to tell them of the sister that none of them had known they had.

Tearfully, I took over the narration. “Your father is not Stacey’s father. I met your Dad just weeks before I discovered that I was pregnant. He had just been discharged from the Army and had no job…” I told them about the circumstances of Stacey’s birth and how their father had stood by me during that most difficult time.

As Jim began to speak again, he broke into sobs. “I have always felt at fault for not asking your Mom to marry me then so that we could have kept the baby.”

It was then that they came to us, one by one, with warm hugs and comforting, teary smiles. With their acceptance and understanding, a cleansing took place within me. I felt a great sense of relief, but the profound joy that I was expecting still proved elusive.

When everyone had gone home and Jim had gone to bed, I dialed Stacey’s number for the first time. “Hello, Stacey, this is… Pat.” I did not feel I had the right to call myself “Mother” or “Mom.” Only Lee had earned that right. It was obvious that she had been expecting my call. Her voice was tinged with excitement and she did not try to conceal her obvious pleasure that I had finally crossed the bridge that had divided us for the past 30 years. During our conversation, Stacey was careful not to ask questions that I was not ready to answer and she kept the conversation light and friendly.

As we said goodbye, I told her, “I’ll write a long letter to tell you about everything that you must be wanting to know.” It was time.

When I wrote that letter the next day, I did not withhold any information. I wanted to release all of the memories that had been locked up so tightly for so long. It was important that she understand that she had not been “thrown away,” but that the decision to give her up was made out of love and concern for her welfare.

In the months that followed, we met Stacey and spent as much time with her as distance allowed. Letters and phone calls traversed the miles separating us on a regular basis. We discovered her shortcomings and she discovered ours. We accepted each other as human beings and dismantled any pedestals that had begun to build. Stacey and her brother and sisters bonded well, and, despite not being her biological father, Jim has become a father to her in every way possible.

threesom

The fairy tale period ended and reality and a welcome normalcy once again settled over our lives. Stacey and her family of four children and a new husband eventually moved back to Eugene. She presented us with a new little granddaughter several years later and on every Mother’s Day since, she has come to our home with a large planter of flowers with an attached note saying simply, “Thanks for giving me life.”

She is a beautiful, compassionate and loving human being and we are all so lucky to have her in our lives.

I have never experienced that overwhelming joy that I once thought I should. Instead it has taken time and the patience of others to allow me to sort out the warm feelings that allowed my relationship with Stacey to grow into love and friendship.

I believe more than ever in the old adage, “Slow and steady wins the race.” In any emotional situation, each of us must find our own way – the one that is right for us. Euphoria can blaze forth and dim, but the quiet joy that comes on slowly and is allowed to grow can last a lifetime.

Sweet Lorane Community News, October 17, 2019

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 17, 2019
By Pat Edwards

As you all know from my past columns, I sometimes struggle to figure out what I can write about that will be of interest to not only Lorane residents, but others of you who have told me that you read my columns each week. So many of those times, like today, I sit down without any idea of what I am going to write about and just let it “flow.”

One thing that I want to include today is information relating to the upcoming Territorial Highway road project that Lane County will be starting after the first of the year. People have been wondering what is going on at our daughter and son-in-law’s place—Michele and Brian Kau—on Lorane Highway, just north of Gillespie Corners. Many large dump trucks and other equipment have been going in and out of their north pasture for the past couple of weeks, hauling in gravel and dirt to level it. Lane County is leasing the pasture from Brian and Michele for the next 3 years to use as their equipment base during the Gillespie Corners-to-Lorane project on Territorial Highway. It’s important that drivers be aware of this as they approach the site because big trucks are going in and out of there on a regular basis. Please use caution.

Jim and I just returned from an early morning doctor appointment for him, and I thought I would update those who have asked about his health. His broken pelvis has healed, but the fall evidently messed up the sciatic nerve in his back and he has been in constant pain for months now before he could even get in to see a neurosurgeon about relieving it. Even after they determined that he needed an epidural injection in hopes of bringing him relief, that injection was scheduled at least another month. Finally, his appointment for the injection is only a week away. It’s been a long haul for him with limited mobility, but I’m praying that he will soon again be walking with little pain.

Yesterday, I learned that Crow High School graduate and former resident, Chase Boehringer, is going to attempt to break the Guinness world record for the highest altitude achieved on a motorcycle by riding his bike to 22,145 ft. on the world’s highest volcano in Chile over a period of 9 days.

Chase Boehringer

He’s expecting to have to deal with negative temperatures and very intense, freezing wind chill. The FirstGear USA company has donated its toughest heated gear to help him make it to the top. Chase’s goal is to share his experience in hopes of inspiring someone to push past what they think might not be possible.

I’m still a small town guy from Oregon. I will be the first to tell you I wasn’t born special, gifted or even particularly smart. I do things like this to push my own edges in hopes of somehow giving permission to someone with a big dream to chase it, against all odds.

Chase is trying to raise another $3,000 from a corporate sponsor to help pay for the expenses of getting himself and his motorcycle to Chile. Chase has a Facebook page and he can be messaged there, or I can put anyone in touch with him who is interested if you contact me at paedwards42@yahoo.com.

Here’s another reminder for the upcoming Harvest Festival that will be held at the Applegate Elementary School in Crow on Friday, October 25, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. They are still looking for volunteers to staff games and activities. Signups are posted on both the Lorane and Crow Facebook pages, or contact Marissa McNutt Cooper at 541-517-6608.

Another Halloween event—a costume contest, trick-or-treating and kids’ storytime—will be held in Creswell on Sunday, October 27, between 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Creswell Community Market hosted by the Tractor Supply Co., 190 Emerald Pkwy, Creswell.

Sweet Lorane Community News, May 16, 2019

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
May 16, 2019
By Pat Edwards

Yesterday, I was considering asking my editors, Pam and Erin, if I could take a 2-week hiatus from writing my column. I have reported all of the upcoming events and happenings in Lorane and Crow that I’m aware of in previous columns. My focus, right now, is so centered on our personal lives, that I haven’t tried to seek out any other news. But, there seems to be quite a bit of interest recently from my readers about what’s happening with our situation that I thought I’d at least give you an update this week.

First of all, we learned last week from Jim’s orthopedic doctor that his recent pelvic fracture that he’s been recovering from turned out to be three fractures—not just one—according to the most recent x-ray at his follow-up appointment. I am so proud of how well he has dealt with it throughout the last couple of months of healing… despite having to put up with a tyrannical wife/caretaker and some very bossy daughters. He hasn’t had a chance to misbehave. It’s meant so much to both of us to be surrounded by family who have always been willing to take an active part in our lives… even from afar.

Washington DCThis week is especially hectic. We’re working around Jim’s mobility issues and putting aside some medical issues I’ll have to deal with on our return as Jim and I and my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Dwight Isborn, are preparing to embark on an exciting vacation to Washington, D.C. and the things we’ve always wanted to see first hand. We’ll spend four days there. Then, we’ll visit Mt. Vernon, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Jamestown, Monticello, Staunton, Richmond, the Shenandoah Valley, Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, and the Valley Forge National Park. On our 11th day, we’ll fly home from Philadelphia where we’ll also have a chance to see the Liberty Bell.

FlagI’ve always been a patriot, even as a child, and despite the current political situation, we are all looking forward to seeing the national monuments, the centers of government and the national treasures as well as honoring the veterans that the war memorials represent. I want to immerse myself in the history that I’ve read about. I will especially enjoy stepping back into the 1700s in Williamsburg where the whole town is a live re-enactment of the colonial days.

Thank goodness for family, a reliable house-sitter and a great line-up of store employees to hold down the fort while we are gone.

I probably will have to forego my column next week, but I’ll have lots to tell you about when we get back.