Sunday, July 15 was my darling daughter's 45th birthday - or would have been. She is eternally 27.
At some point in time, shortly after the page was up and friends were eagerly posting...one of her adopted brothers threatened to have it removed. Perhaps he tried, but it never came to pass.
Yesterday - on my daughter's birthday - in addition to MANY loving wishes, the following was posted to her FB page:
"Alicia is dead 17 years. Maybe it's time to remember her privately and take this page down. It might give her family some peace."Her "family"??? What am I, chopped liver?
I replied: I am deeply sorry for those who find a loving memorial painful. We memorialize loved ones. It's what is done. That's why there are markers on graves and statues memorializing war heroes and other public figures who have passed. It gives gives Alicia's mother peace and comfort to the memory of her beloved daughter alive and it gives Alicia's friends joy to share their memories of her, some who never knew that she has passed. Many who lovingly shared their fond memories and photos of her. To those for whom her memory is painful, i say please avoid coming to this website as I do not with anyone any harm.
She wrote yet again and the following are my final words to this interloper:
I thought it more respectful to ALL for us to carry on this conversation in private. I am sure you, of all people, would respect that and agree. I deleted the conversation from Alicia's page - as I did the ONE "friend" who didn't seem to know Alicia at all. One out of many.
You want me to take her page down. In essence you are asking to take all I have of my beloved child away. Make her disappear as if she never existed. I cannot do that.
My child was taken from me - against my wishes, shortly after she was born. I tried for six months to get the help I needed to keep her and I failed. I was helpless then - deemed so by now out-dated social mores that said I was too young, too poor and could not provide a mother and a father for Alicia. And so she was taken from me. Gone. Disappeared. I knew not where.
Until you have lost a living child into a void of not knowing, you have no idea what that is like - to look at every child and wonder if she is yours. To wonder if your child is well taken care of; if she was ever adopted or not. if she is healthy - even alive.
I spent 13 years NOT KNOWING and every day was excruciatingly painful! Until you've walked a mile in my shoes...
I cannot and will not LOOSE her yet again. Twice is more than enough for a mother loose her child. This is all I have of her and I will NOT loose it! Not you nor anyone else can take away this precious piece of Alicia I hold dear.
YOU got to celebrated her birthdays with her while I cried. YOU spent every weekend with her, not me. YOU have memories of her to pull out....ALLL I have is her grave and this page. You have photos and cards and memories. I do not attempt to take them from you or begrudge you having them. I am not jealous nor are they threatening to me. I'm happy for you and happy for anything that keeps Leehs's memory alive! I don't begrudge you yours, why do you want to take this from me?
You cannot and will not take anymore of her away from me. Do you understand?
Did you understand my first response to you that memorializing people honors them? Why else do we put markers on gravestones, Phylisse? We do not put them in the ground and forget them. Our loved ones live on in our memories of them. You have yours. this is mine. There is nothing disrespectful or exploitative about any memorial honoring anyone!
I do not understand why it bothers you or any of her adoptive family. I am sorry for them and respect their right to grieve privately. This page does not disallow them that right nor does it disrespect them in any way. All they and you have to do is NOT LOOK AT IT if it bothers you! You have choice - I never did!
I know you think you know what Alicia would have wanted. But I have been in close touch with several of her closest friends who totally support this page and think she'd LOVE being remembered fondly by all her friends.
As for my respect for her adoptive family - I try very hard to be as respectful as I can. But let me tell you this: THEY knew the trials and tribulations that tortured Leesh. THEY knew of her drinking and her ED ...and they knew that she came home from college and had no home to come home to. She was left to feel abandoned yet again, in her vulnerable, delicate, wounded state. They knew and did nothing. NOTHING! I was totally in the dark about all of it.
I am sure neither you not anyone else knows that Alicia's loving, caring adoptive family refused my offer to provide them her medical history! Information that may have saved her life! I could have told them that she inherited substance abuse including alcoholism on her father's side. I could have told her that there is a history of ED, depression and suicide on my side. But they refused to hear any of it.. just as they refused photos of her from her first year of life I had and offered to share with them. What kind of love is that that is so possessive it puts fear and control before the best interest of an innocent child's welfare??? You tell me. What kind of love is that? And now, once again, you want to dispute who has a right of possession of her memory?!? Hasn't Leesh been fought over and torn into pieces enough in life?
Loving, enlightened adoptive parents today welcome the original family of the child they care for and about as part of their child - just as a mother welcomes the family of her child's spouse. Enlightened - secure and healthy adoptive parents today are choosing OPEN ADOPTIONS - maintaining healthy open, honest relationships throughout the life of their child. It's often difficult or painful, but parents who love their children do what is best for them, even if it hurts. Putting a child in the crossfire and making them choose or take sides is awful in divorce and equally harmful, destructive and uncaring in adoption. All schools of family therapy will tell you that.
Did you know that a year before she passed I wrote to Barbara and asked her if out of the kindness of her heart she could keep me apprised of major life events, such as if and when Alicia married? Did you know that? And did you know that at Temple Beth Am in Parsippany - where friends of MINE attended - she was overheard in the days following Alicia's passing, as friends offered her condolences. One of her friends asked if she would notify Leehs's birth mother and she said: "No" and went on to say that she'd keep any obit out of the newspapers so that I would not know of the funeral.
How could anyone be so cruel and heartless? What threat was I to her at that point - or ever?
I have been treated like a pariah by the Hirsch family. Alicia has suffered because of Barbara's choices, her fears, her insecurities. NO MORE! All those years I had no control whatsoever. My child was taken from me and then taken from her beloved foster family without my knowledge...I had no say in the matters that might have directly caused her demise. I will NOT let go of what I have left of her!
You said: "I completely respect the relationship she wanted to have with you." DO YOU REALLY????? If you respected the relationship she wanted to have with me why on earth would you try to sever what is left of it??? This tiny shred of her I have? If it bothers you or any of her family, simply don't look at it!!
And no, I did not know they would react like this when I put it up. If I knew why would I have invited her brother Eric to be a friend?
** Alicia's memorial page is not about them, or you, Phylisse. *** it is about Alicia and the family she was BORN INTO and it is our way to memorialize her.
You also have no idea - nor do you or they care - how any of her blood siblings feel. Do you know - of course you don't - that she has a blood-related SISTER who was suicidal over Alicia's death? A sister who shared her genetic predispositions to depression, ED and suicide and was - like Leesh - in ED treatment???
You have no idea the pain my youngest child has suffered over the loss of her sister and how it came very close to taking her life as well and the fear I had to live with knowing i might loose yet another child. And you want me to loose what we have?
We've suffered enough. Let us have our peace, please!
My flesh and blood lies in that grave in Iselin NJ - the one you do not visit. You also did not know - nor do any of her adopted brothers know - that in 1995 I lost Alicia and my mother and father within nine months. As I said, until you've walked a mile in my shoes...until you've lost a child...please do not tell me what to do or not do.
PS Her foster family who had her from the day she was born until she was year old - a woman she called "Mommy" and sisters and brothers who loved her and wanted to adopt her - also LOVE having this memorial for her!