Like a Bird in the Sky: Happy 43rd, Big Sis

Whenever I hear Nina’s earthy, electrifying voice, I think of my older sister, Carolyn June.  They shared the same fiery passion for justice and equality; both of them made people feel on a deep level, whether they wanted to or not.

Today is Carolyn’s birthday. Well, it would have been her birthday if she hadn’t passed away in 1989. I’ve written a bit about it on my other, much neglected, blog: and

Her passing split my world wide open with grief and marked the beginning of the end for many things in my life. The shock and grief of her passing is forever bound with the disintegration of my family of origin and the loss of my own daughter to adoption three and a half years later.

Those were difficult years.

So today, in honor of my big sister’s would-have-been birthday, I will cue up my Nina Simone playlist, crank it up as loud as possible, and dance and sway with abandon as I celebrate my sister’s short sojourn here on earth.


I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free ~ Nina Simone

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
I wish I could say
All the things that I should say
Say ’em loud say ’em clear
For the whole round world to hear
I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you’d see and agree
That every man should be free

I wish I could give
All I’m longin’ to give
I wish I could live
Like I’m longin’ to live
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do
And though I’m way over due
I’d be starting a new

Well I wish I could be
Like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be
If I found I could fly
Oh I’d soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
Than I’d sing cos I know – yea
Then I’d sing cos I know – yea
Then I’d sing cos I know
I’d know how it feels
Oh I’d know how it feels to be free
Yea Yea! Oh, I know how it feels
Yes I know
Oh, I know
How it feels
How it feels
To be free


Two and a Half Minutes

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

The Professor was supposed to go to summer camp this morning. I didn’t take him and he was happy to stay home (he is quite the homebody, kind of like his dad). I just can’t have him away from me today. This is atypical behavior for me, but today…today I will honor the need to keep him close to me.

Right now he is in the entertainment room watching “Phineas and Ferb.” Poppy is happily placing Mickey Mouse stickers around my office. I imagine Captain Knuckle is still in bed, but I don’t know for certain, as he is in Utah with his dad.

Me? I am sitting here, trying to hold it together, fighting against the urge to pull the shades tight, crawl back into bed and bury my head under the pillows for the rest of the day. If I can just make it through today, I can wake up tomorrow and somehow manage for another year.

I had the chance to chat for a few minutes with my husband this morning, too. (He’s away right now, as always). Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

[6/18/12 9:00:41 AM] JR: Hello gorgeous!
[6/18/12 9:00:45 AM] Me: Today is Ms. Feverfew’s birthday.
[6/18/12 9:01:25 AM] JR: sad day for you?
[6/18/12 9:01:27 AM] Me: Trying really hard not to spend it all in bed. Good thing I have these other kids to take care of, otherwise, I would.
[6/18/12 9:01:43 AM] Me: I don’t know if sad is the right word.
[6/18/12 9:01:45 AM] Me: Or the only word.
[6/18/12 9:01:51 AM] Me: I mean, I am glad she was born.
[6/18/12 9:01:57 AM] JR: of course.
[6/18/12 9:01:59 AM] Me: It’s just hard to be spending another birthday without her.
[6/18/12 9:02:06 AM] JR: yeah, I know what you mean.
[6/18/12 9:02:13 AM] Me: And realizing I will most likely never get to spend one with her.
[6/18/12 9:02:24 AM] Me: And accepting the fact I can never get back the ones I have missed.
[6/18/12 9:02:31 AM] Me: Adoption, the gift that keeps giving.
[6/18/12 9:02:45 AM] JR: Adoption, the gift that keeps on taking
[6/18/12 9:02:54 AM] JR: or,
[6/18/12 9:03:03 AM] JR: Adoption, the gift that you keep on giving.

In just two and a half minutes, we summed up what has ailed me for nearly the last two decades.

Added on top of all of the birthday sadness is the realization that the TRUTH about how adoption would affect you and me was purposefully withheld from me when I was trying to make a decision about this…it’s hard to admit I was taken advantage of (not by your parents, THANKFULLY, but by church leaders and the adoption industry). It’s hard to admit I was duped. That I was coerced. That I could not have given informed consent because…well, because I wasn’t informed.

It would be so easy to spend the day crying. So very, very, VERY easy, but I am going to choose faith today, as much as possible. So today, I chose to believe God is bigger than all of this. Today, I choose to believe God’s power to heal is more powerful and permanent than the lies I was told. Today, I chose that perfect brightness of hope, a hope which shines through even the deepest darkness.

Because things are pretty dark right now.

Much love,



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