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As we behold, we actively transform the image.
When I walked off the plane to meet my sister Michelle all eyes were on us. Not only did we look so much alike, but we had the same mannerisms and laugh. My children also watched me physically unite with my sister. For the first time meeting someone that looked so much like their mother. It was beyond imagination to finally be together. Michelle was the first child that Ruth Ann and Michael were able to keep and raise. Michelle’s beauty attracted all my family and friends that swarmed around us as the sweet smell of reunion filled the air.
“Who would I have been if we had grown up together?” I kept asking myself this question, as if there could have been another life trajectory. Would I have gone back to New York and modelled while Michelle performed in Broadway Musicals? I had won a modelling contest and experienced what it was like to be photographed in the Big Apple, staying at the Waldorf Astoria and walking through Central Park. But didn’t go back to try my luck as a model. I wondered, “Would coming together make us more complete?”
As we melted into each other’s embrace, we bonded for life. After a few days together in Omaha we took off with baby Yann to Washington D.C. to meet our parents, Kaitie, and then Ryan at West Point. On our family vacation we drove to Cold Spring, New York, where I bought a handmade Wedding Ring Quilt, a symbol of our reunion.
Ruth Ann and Michael had been so young when we were born. The iconic picture of them on my father’s motorcycle captures the mood in 1966 when the Beatles were singing, Revolution.
As we came together, we too knew that everything was going to be all right!
“If truth is the object of its quest, the word is the portal through which it passes. For the word is our only access to truth, both the truth of what we know and the truth of what we are” (Patterson, 1988, 2).
Our letters and phone calls gave life to our transformational process. But our convergence also trigged physical reactions that were connected to deep sub-conscious memories of trauma embedded in the mind-body. As we stood naked and exposed before each other, we risked reexperiencing the pain from the past so that future joy could be found ‘somewhere over the rainbow’.
As a connected with my birth family, I needed to assure my birth mother that our bond of unconditional love would never be questioned. In this chapter, you can read my letter to my adopted mother Jan. My adopted father Dave had often discussed Greek philosophy and Gnothi Seuton, the Greek wisdom tradition of Self-knowledge. He would say to me “Healer heal thyself; healer know thyself.”
Bringing the voices together in a ‘communiverse’ (Gergen, 2020) set in motion a healing process not just for me, but for the entire relational matrix. Here are links to articles, books, and websites that can offer more insight into Bakhtin’s philosophies. We were all asking, “Who are you?” Then we had to pause to listen to the responses that came back to us like echoes bouncing off mountain faces.
Literature and Spirit:
Voicing Relationships: A Dialogic Perspective
In Theory Bakhtin: Dialogism, Polyphony and Heteroglossia