Closure…is it what people think it is?

10 Aug


I’ve been thinking about what closure is for a long time.  Can you actually close the door on your past, or event, and walk into your future unscathed?  I can’t.  Every single event in my life that touched me so deeply that one would seek closure for – has molded, and shaped me, into who I am, today.

The term “closure” for adoptees is misused by some in adoption, it’s too neat and tidy, a platitude to make others feel better about the challenges of being an adoptee.  I see it in their words, “has worked through those feelings” or “moved on” and with search and reunion, it brought “closure” so all is fine now type attitude, and yet, that is not the reality for some (many).  In reality, those feelings can come back as other events happen in life, and being in reunion creates and brings up so many more feelings, challenges, and sometimes more pain from feelings they didn’t know they had deep down inside, because they never allowed themselves to go there, before they reunited.

There is no such thing as “closure” as it is understood by some in adoption – you adjust your sails and continue on, but the mere fact that you had to adjust, means you were changed.  Whether that change gave you more self-preservation skills, made you less trusting, less willing to give of yourself.  You changed.  You can’t go back to the person you were before that event happened.

I can no more forget as a child going to my secret place, tears streaming unchecked, feeling that if my own mother didn’t want me, or love me enough to keep me, then no one else could love me either.  My solution was to not need anyone, I would take care of myself.  Telling myself that I was strong because I survived that, so I could do what I needed to survive anything else.  Memories of going to that secret place are forever etched in my memory, and I can see the effect in my relationships throughout life, I still to this day struggle to let anyone else in to the point where I could be proven right, again.  It didn’t matter what I had been told as why adoption happened, what mattered was that I wasn’t kept.  Nor did it matter that up until then and after that point in my life – my family had proven time after time, that I was lovable, loved, wanted.  I can no more forget that pain, than I can forget being attacked by a dog as a young child, or any of the other traumatic events that have happened throughout my life, talked about, or not spoken of, all have permanently changed who I am.

To me there is no closure as defined by others who need it to mean; over and done with and things will go back to the way it was before, every single event whether it took place in childhood, teen years, young adult, middle-aged, is forever part of who you are now.  Traumatic events don’t go away, they change you.  They become part of your soul.  They effect in some way every decision made, action taken, thought, feeling and reaction from that point forward.  Answers to why the event happened, doesn’t make the pain you felt, or still feel, go away, they are just answers to the questions that were gnawing away at your soul.  They can offer a measure of peace so you stop wondering, searching for, the why – but they can’t change you back to the person you were before, and even if you have worked hard to conquer your feelings and fears, they are still there, deep inside.  So please don’t assume that adoptees are different from everyone else, and once they find “closure” it’s all over, and they have “moved on” after “working through those feelings”…it doesn’t work that way…


Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Adoption


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47 responses to “Closure…is it what people think it is?

  1. iwishiwasadopted

    August 11, 2014 at 12:41 am

    There is no closure, until they close the box for the last time.


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      the older I get the more I agree..


  2. eagoodlife

    August 11, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I don’t believe in ‘closure’ and you hit the nail right on the head when you said it is defined by others according to what they need it to mean. Why in any case would we want ‘closure’, what happens to us whoever we are, is part of our history, our lives, our story.?


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      exactly von, I think some need it to work that way – the whole was adopted is adopted thingy…


  3. eagoodlife

    August 11, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Thoughts on ‘closure’ from TAO who hits it right on the head.


  4. everyoneactdead

    August 11, 2014 at 1:29 am

    I kind of tried to write about “moving on” and how it doesn’t really mean “moving on” because it has changed me and will always affect me–and you explained it so well. Awesome post.


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      awe thanks – I don’t know who many times I have tried to explain my thoughts on this, moving on, etc., and they still sit in draft mode – hopelessly muddled…


  5. Heather

    August 11, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Your words are so beautiful. Thank you.


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      ta…thank you for reading…


  6. Lara/Trace

    August 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Reblogged this on lara and commented:
    Traumatic events don’t go away, they change you. They become part of your soul. They effect in some way every decision made, action taken, thought, feeling and reaction from that point forward. Answers to why the event happened, doesn’t make the pain you felt, or still feel, go away, they are just answers to the questions that were gnawing away at your soul. They can offer a measure of peace so you stop wondering, searching for, the why – but they can’t change you back to the person you were before, and even if you have worked hard to conquer your feelings and fears, they are still there, deep inside. So please don’t assume that adoptees are different from everyone else, and once they find “closure” it’s all over, and they have “moved on” after “working through those feelings”…it doesn’t work that way…” Yes Yes YES!


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      thanks lara…


  7. Beth

    August 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Yes, true closure is what you do to the book, or the box, when the story has reached it’s end.


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      wait a minute, I’ve read some books multiple times…yes, you are right though…


  8. pammcrae

    August 11, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    This is so well expressed, and I agree completely. As both a birth mother and an adoptive mother, I can attest that deep psychological and emotional wounds leave scars that remain forever, no matter how much healing takes place. Losing a baby to adoption was, for me, like losing a leg (a part of my very self). I learned to walk again, but my gait will never be normal. My adopted son was loved and wanted, but love was not enough to sooth his angry spirit and calm his wounded soul. He lost his first family, his identity, and his cultural heritage, and an American lifestyle can never replace those things. Every adoption is a king of Sophie’s choice with unforseen consequences and inevitable heartache, as well as a kind of survival. I used to believe that adoption was the answer. Then I believed that reunion was the answer. I now believe there are no final answers, but there can be healing if you’re brave enough to work for it.


    • TAO

      August 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      I think everyone’s definition of healing is going to be different…things can become less raw, less front and center, less defining as other things happen in your life and time and space grow…it’s all just so complicated – whatever term works for the individual and whatever the outcome wanted is gained. Thanks for commenting.


  9. Patricia Busbee (Brighid Rowan)

    August 11, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    This is a great piece. Thank you. I do not believe in closure. There are no final answers. Adoption issues are complex, layered and always changing. Yes, each person’s definition and experience of healing is very different. And the differences need to be respected.


    • TAO

      August 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Why I keep writing – despite being old. People paint other people as either/or and it’s just not that simple…


  10. Adoptee Moi

    August 12, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Hi Tao
    So true … well said. There is no closure. I cannot go back and change what happened at my birth, the traumatic extrication from my world of safety, sounds, smells, taste to a clinical hospital world of blame and routine, another two months in limbo and then a lifetime of coping on my own without emotional support and resources (it’s called being adopted). I accept that I will always have this vulnerability and I am learning to care for myself with the same nurturance that I somehow gave my own children. There are the many parts to me that I am learning to listen to, love and integrate into a whole without demanding that they fill the unfillable hole.


    • TAO

      August 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks Adotpee Moi – “learning to listen to, love and integrate into a whole” – beautiful. We are always evolving, changing, growing. Thank you.


  11. Valentine Logar

    August 12, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Closure is a strange term, isn’t it? Can we close doors? No, but what we can do is choose how to live with our history, choose how we relate to the world, choose which demons we dance with, choose who we rent space to in our hearts and heads.

    I think the only closure we ever get is that which we give to ourselves. We can choose to heal.


    • TAO

      August 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Thanks Val – yes!


  12. Sonya

    August 13, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    My parents were royalty, they had no choice but to give me up because many many people wanted my bio-bro and I dead. While it was very hard for them to do, they did what was best for us, and now my bio-bro is Bobby Flay, but I will never meet him as he is far too famous to search for a would be family when he has such a great one already.

    I had always known I had coped with my loss in an unrealistic way, but honestly my bio-parents/siblings could have been anything and anyone; technically that is still true. My biosiblings have decided to come looking for me. I honestly feel like I had closure, it didn’t matter who they were anymore, all that mattered was who I was, and who my family is now. I am not even sure how to put into words what I feel. It’s not like a wound has opened back up (though I did cry about it), it’s more like holy shit… this is scary. Everything I ever wanted to know is being laid before me and I don’t think I can handle knowing. I don’t want to let more people in, especially people that were raised by the people who were supposed to love me forever. Those that were supposed to protect me, teach me not to eat worms, and how to fly a kite. They chose to walk away and I feel like it was a lapse in judgment to allow my siblings to look for my bio-bro and I. Even more terrifying was finding out my bio-bro accepted the invitation. Now I feel like a shit for saying I really don’t want to know any of you, like I am depriving them of some awesomeness because I want to protect myself. I feel selfish and alone, but I think I’m leaving it. Allowing them to meet and become the family they think they want, but just staying in the dark is going to be the best “closure” for me. Maybe that is the ticket to “closure.” Sure we all want to know stuff, but nothing is going to be as amazing as it is in our heads. My bio-parents were none of the above (and I really have no idea if my bio-bro is Bobby Flay), they were poor old people that could not afford to keep their fifth and sixth child. That’s crazy. I really didn’t ever want to know that. I can only imagine the more I am told, the less happy I will be. What you don’t know, won’t kill you and if it does, that’s on our bio-parents they should have told the adoption agency.


  13. Ger

    November 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Thought provoking ! in my opinion the truth is most powerful this journey of discovery each of us takes can unravel many deep and emotional wound’s . We can never erase our past and change what has traumatized us , It is simply impossible to resurrect that child that died within us too many year’s ago. Knowledge is powerful , Acceptance to one self and recognizing the limitation’s is some form of closure .


    • TAO

      November 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you Ger- very well said…


  14. pammcrae

    November 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I’m quite taken with Sonya’s post about not wanting to meet her bio-family. (FYI I relinquished a son for adoption in 1968 and adopted a baby from Vietnam in 1974.) I’ve been in reunion with my first son for nearly three years, and my adopted son and I have what I would call a minimal relationship. I’ve offered many times to talk about his adoption since he’s been an adult, but he doesn’t seem to want to go there. He’s been locked up inside himself always, though he now is close with at least one of his daughters. When I found my first son, his whole world fell apart. We are both thrilled to be reunited and have a very loving relationship, but he was so wounded by adoption that I wonder if he’ll ever be able to get past it. This discussion of closure is so interesting. I agree that it’s something other people want for us. Deal with it, get over it, move on. That’s what the world wants, but it is way more complicated than that.

    I understand what Sonya is saying here, and I sympathize deeply, but I hope that someday she’ll be able to open up to what is, after all, a huge, true part of her life: her bio-family. My adopted son lives in a shell, presents a jolly-good-fellow to outsiders (everyone else), and is numb inside. I believe he’s doing the best he can, until and unless he is able to find his first family, which is unlikely. An entrenched pattern needs a huge disruption to break it up, and that’s what my finding my first son was for both of us. We had each devised our own ways of coping with primal loss, and once we were back together those methods no longer worked. My son had been an alcoholic; now he’s in recovery. I was depressed and in denial; now I’m working my way out of both. Our reunion has been glorious and hideous. The decades of grief, once faced, were crushing. But we’re getting through, and it is so worth it to live honestly. No more secrets and lies. No more pretending that things are OK when they’re not. The truth is always better, and allowing love beats out keeping your heart locked in a box every time.


  15. Beth

    November 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    “I’ve been thinking about what closure is for a long time. Can you actually close the door on your past, or event, and walk into your future unscathed? I can’t. Every single event in my life that touched me so deeply that one would seek closure for – has molded, and shaped me, into who I am, today. ”

    I got some closure today, and none of us came by it unscathed by any means.
    Really looking for somewhere to share this, cause I think you will like it, and you made the ‘mistake’ of saying good things happen in the comments in another post 🙂

    So, Oh My, here is my closed story of the day 🙂

    A thing was noticed today. Not so many years ago we had three young men trying to grow here. Tried to help them understand why you can’t say things to people and expect the mean or hurtful things you’ve said, or done, even by mistake, even in anger, to be forgotten or to not cause real damage of some kind to someone, or their relationship with them.

    So I pulled out the story about the nails in the fence post and shared it with them – as punishment for saying mean things to me LOL. Their reaction, you know was blah blah blah, here she goes again… whatever crazy lady, I like hammers and nails so why not.

    Gave them each a hammer and nails, pointed them each to a tree, and said put a nail in for each hurtful thing you have said to someone. So they do, soon enough, not seeing nearly enough nails LOL I come out with some reminders since they seemed to have forgotten some of the mean stuff they’ve said – trees are full of old rusty nails in no time.

    The next day I say, okay, go pull out all the nails you put in for those things you said that you are sorry for now, wish you hadn’t said, said only in anger, or you didn’t really mean when you said it.

    They did, each had only one or two nails they chose to leave, we talked about them, and left them there to rust.

    Then I pointed out how the tree had changed, how it was forever damaged, full of holes, never the same again, even tho all those nails were taken back.
    They got it.

    Not too long ago, two of them finally came home after being deployed overseas, they came and pulled out the remaining nails. It was a really good day. I was very happy they had remembered those nails from years ago, and obviously thought about them deeply in the time they had far away from everyone and everything, and had found peace with them enough to come pull them out(or at least try since they were grown over).

    Today a wide eyed one came to get me, drug me out in the woods to show me that their three trees are dead, because he couldn’t speak of them, had to show me. Dead long before they should be.

    Best Lesson I have ever given.


    • TAO

      November 8, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      Wow, great story Beth – I wonder (and worry) that kids today won’t learn the hard way like that – not with living life via the age of modern technology and helicopter parenting. I also wonder if we would have been subjected to helicopter parenting if the information technology existed back in our day. There were very bad people in our era – even in my rural town there was an adult creep that tried his tricks on me…didn’t work so well…and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to experience something like that.


      • Beth

        November 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

        I wonder if there is a “nails in the fence post” App now? 🙂
        Could work?

        Hey, wait a minute LOL these are kind of the “kids” of today, they are barely in their 20’s, it wasn’t that long ago!
        But maybe it was quite a few years ago, long enough for me to forget that the tree nailing wasn’t just one day, but months of sending them out to their tree as punishment for being mean to others, and themselves. Funny how we forget some of those things that they remember all too well 🙂

        Mostly I feel sorry, as I always have, for those that don’t happen to have buckets of old rusty bent up nails around to recycle, and plenty of trees to spare, regardless of the helicopters or how much technology they have or not.

        I’d bet there are many parenting Apps out there now. But I really don’t have a clue, me and my phone still aren’t so smart about that stuff.


  16. Beth

    November 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I was wrong, of course it couldn’t be closed yet LOL wth was I thinking!
    Too many options of what to do with the trees. and too funny is the link to some other things.
    Things you find in reunion, in memorials, in the ash, etc.

    -dig the whole thing up, examine it completely, make something of use out of it and/or something to remember it, and what it stood for, always –
    – leave it alone, let it fall where and as it may, chit happens, it’s dead, move along, safely avoid the area until the decay is over.
    -make some benches or something useful, replant, move on.
    -oh for crying out loud just cut the things down before they fall on something, or someone, and let’s have a bon fire, with friends and smores:).

    my fav, my closure:
    -really glad I pulled those nails out and tried to patch up the holes in the real people the tree stood for, before they died too, even if it didn’t keep them from dying.

    I’ll let you guess which one was mine LOL
    I am surprised at what a big deal this has been for them, I swear i never felt like they ever heard a word i said.
    I don’t care what they decide to do!
    Just too happy to see these three together in the same place at the same time – with me 🙂


  17. Beth

    November 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    :):) ! Just saw one of them on Live TV in Arlington for the Veteran’s Day wreath placing ceremony at the cemetery. Saw Uncle G too, barely recognized him, he cleans up pretty good LOL Glad I didn’t go this year, would have been a big ole bitter/sweet cry baby. Cooking too much today, it’s what I do, they’ll be back soon enough 🙂 🙂


  18. Wrking21

    November 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Beth is that you! Have I found you in two spots! 🙂 I love love love the nail in the tree thing. I’ve got a 3 year old beauty who is starting to say mean things and not be so kind. I’m locking this one in the old noodle box for when she’s a bit older. What an impact that lesson had, whew!


  19. Beth

    November 14, 2014 at 11:34 am

    It’s me it’s me! glad we found each other! I love this place.

    It’s so funny now to know that I got the nail story in one of those corny emails that goes around, that’s where the nail story found me and when the nail punishments began for the three wild boys. They said “rain, snow, sleet, heat, darkness – didn’t matter” I was desperate for anything, I was outnumbered! They were horrible and I mean terribly horrible, I’d known some horrible boys, but they had nothing on these three. They were B A D. Not just bad, Bad or BAD, but B A D.

    We did all of the options above with the trees, plus some, these guys are too funny. I’m just so happy for them I could pop.

    I’ve found out I can’t remember chit anymore! But maybe it’s them that can’t remember – probably our different views. I got to meet one of their commanders, Joe made it a point to bring him to meet me while they were in town. Apparently I am “famous” on base due to my “mean mama” parenting.

    I was told that Joe often says to his buddies “come on man, you can do this, my mama can do this faster and better than that!”

    I felt like I was in an episode of Malcom in the Middle, when his mother Lois goes to her sons military school and the commander falls in love with the mean mama and her ways. Begs her to share her methods with him. It was weird. My husband got jealous of him LOL

    I don’t remember being that mean, certainly not mean enough to be well known at an Army basic training facility. And not so mean that they don’t come home to eat everything in site and hang all over me every chance they get. They just like mean I think. They are the ones that asked me to be the mean mama.

    They tell everyone; “The Army, Navy nor the Marine’s have anything on Mz B’s basic training. By the time we got to the military it was like pre-school to us.”
    Ha! that’s right, and don’t forget it 🙂

    And the kicker – they got it, they actually listened to me, us, heard us, got what I was getting at – something worked LOL I can’t friggin believe it. I am encouraging them to write their stories, I know they could share so much that would help others in their shoes if they did.

    And I get to talk about them online, with permission because I hear from so many about kids like this, how there is no hope for them, how nothing can be done, they can’t be with a family or around other kids, that kind of damage can’t be undone.
    All three of these B A D wild boys came to us at their worst. We gave them freedom, hard labor and simply showed them what they really wanted for themselves, how to get a grasp on it. It was not about them attaching to us or our life, or me attaching with them, it wasn’t about me being mom and them being sons, it was about them. For us it was all about them, all about showing them what they could have, could do and giving them the tools and the space to figure out how to do it.

    All had been in several family and foster situations, juvenile detention, another family, dentention, another family and finally dumped off at the Boys Home to be their last stop. They’d survived horrific things, had every harmful, violent, and poop smearing habit that you have ever heard about in any foster or adoption forum, x10. There were 6 adults in charge, 3 were always on duty, every minute.
    They brusied us, they broke our bones, they killed our pets, they destroyed so much property and so many relationships with people we know.

    I asked what they thought it was that we did for them here that got them out of the mud, out of the funk, what changed the way they thought about the world and themselves? I’d imagined it was the big scary military veterans here, and all of the working knowledge we have with PTSD.

    They said I worked it out of them. I didn’t ask them to love me. And I scared the crap out of them on day one. The first day they came we walked down to the river, for the walk and to chill and talk, that mile walk down and up helps you sleep better. Got to the river bank and there was a copperhead snake about three feet from one of them’s foot. I asked him to stop, freeze, of course he ignored me… I carry a gun out there in the wilderness, with snake shot for this purpose (those bites make you very sick and hurt for a long time, and could kill you) and shot the snake right in front of them. They were quite shocked, and impressed. This has happened more than once, with other kids, it works great LOL

    I made them face their fears. Like swimming, heights…snakes, driving, making a phone call, talking to people, whatever they made the mistake of letting me know they were afraid of doing.

    While working, eventually I gave them things like chainsaws, cutting torches, welders and tractors to operate, yep, they are scary. I think they were too scared to mess up anything or get hurt, that taught them to be responsible for themselves and my stuff, or else!
    MADE them drive big trucks, equipment, boats, motorcycles and ride in small planes, and learn to fly them if interested.
    They can work and repair a scary sewing machine like professionals, that they now are. (due to the “omg, no way, that’s for girls” comments. They sewed daily at the shop for years after that comment, to me, what were they thinking :))
    They can work a pressure cooker, yikes, and the big scary gas oven and stove that has caused more injury than anything around.
    They now know that they can swim, and swim far under the sea, not so freaked out at snakes, ride the super high zip line, horses, climb nearly anything, walk continuously for days-weeks-months, jump into the water from the top cliff, jump from a perfectly good airplane, they can touch a chicken and even pick it up – with their bare hands! The chicken one seemed to impress them greatly, they must have really been afraid of those chickens LOL

    They all told me that the number one lesson that they’ve used the most in every area of life is “What one man can do, another can do”

    As I ROLF laughing knowing I got this line from a movie, don’t even remember the name of it, Anthony Hopkins played a rich guy who gets stranded in the woods with some other guys and has to kill a big grizzly to survive… too funny, but I agree that line has helped me more than anything to be more fearless in life too.

    I threatened pain to Joe’s boss dude if he tried to undue my lessons of how to love with his military brainwashing lessons. They already know how to hurt someone, and how to bare pain, no lessons needed, please. Whatever, I’ll be here to help clean up the mess if we find any mess from this military stint that I tried my best to discourage. What can I say, I love wild boys.


    • pammcrae

      November 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      What an amazing mother you are! You’re the real deal, and I commend you.


      • Beth

        November 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        Thanks pam.
        Now that we have found closure in the wild boys childhoods – I am taking my Mom credit! TY!

        Oh, while talking, the guys decided that the biggest reason they “made it” was we treated them like actual “Wounded Warriors”. And we did LOL it’s just what we know. And they really were wounded warriors.
        The walks helped them the most I think. We thru hiked the Appalachian and the Pacific Trail. Took a long time, we learned how to survive Mother Earth with nothing but her and ourselves to rely on, we found our instincts.
        They found the “ancient mother” on those trails, just like I did.

        Just throwing out some thoughts and hints on what I have found that can work for some. ya never know.

        Had a young lady complete an AT thru hike this year. It’s easy for me to know something is right about this walking thing – when they come back saying stuff like:

        “”Sunday I went to church and met some amazing people. I’ve always been associated with and familiar with a church, but it wasn’t until the trail that I realized that not just church, but any common interest group, forms a community. That sense of community creates a family like feeling. A feeling that makes people feel loved, important, needed, and wanted. Before hiking the trail, I’d like to say I had a lot of self confidence. That I knew who I was and what I wanted, but let’s be serious. I doubted a lot of things and was oblivious to quite a bit as well. The trail took me out of my shell, opened me up to the kindness of the world, and told me that I have a place. That I have many places. It provided a sense of community which empowered me and gave me more than a feeling of self worth.

        Anyways – enough “physical” complaining / contemplating. Mentally this has been a challenge as well. I never anticipated or even fathomed the idea that thru hiking was like a race! Never really considered that most people who thru hike are extremely competitive and the closer you get to Katahdin, the more competitive. I have never really labeled myself competitive. I have always been committed and determined and a perfectionist, but never one who worried about speed or being better than anyone else, normally I just compare my current self to my former self and past self. Out here, getting closer to the finish line, meeting more people, just feels like a rat race – like we are all heading to the big K, in a big hurry. Luckily, I got a lot of thinking done down in the south and even before Maine. Maybe that is why Maine was so hard to get through – the fact that my mind was clear, yet full, and that I had 281 ridiculous more miles ahead of me.

        With over 2000 miles under your belts, you really start to know who and what is important to you in your life. You realize what you want from life and who you want in it. You realize who you are and who you want to be. You begin to plan how to become that person. But, hiking the trail doesn’t change you, it doesn’t make pain go away, or the thought of people and dreams dissipate. Sometimes being out here makes everything seem so more real, but it does allow you a chance to step back, analyze it, and either accept it or change it. I have accepted a lot of things on the trail and I have learned a lot. These last few months have been a step away from reality yet at the same time has brought me so close to it. “”


        • pammcrae

          November 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

          Was it Bill Bryson who wrote a book about walking the AT? Great book. I’m not a person who would find a gazillion-mile walk inspiring, but I can see how transformative it is for those who take to it. Seems you hit on just the right strategy for your guys.


  20. Beth

    November 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    🙂 “Walk Off The War”

    Don’t forget to donate or participate if you can 🙂


  21. Beth

    November 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Yes, and they are making it into a movie that should be out this year!!!! “A Walk in the Woods”
    I wish they would hurry up!

    “After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.”

    And take a look at the cast! it’s bound to be a good movie, oh I hope it is..

    I get it Pam, not everyone is into that sort of thing LOL
    Our wild boys were not so keen on it either, at the time that was sort of beside the point 🙂 I was in charge of them, and they had no choice. The only way I knew to show them what I knew, was to show them. One of our best days was when we finally reached the Summit at the end of our 2000+ mile trip, all of us still living and only slightly injured. They were so relieved, and so thrilled and full of themselves.

    Then I said, “Alright then… Time to head back home.” As if we were also walking all the way back home, I didn’t let on that we weren’t until we got back down the hill and turned towards town. (Okay, my meanness may be official, and I wish I had a pic of their faces when I said that) I think they would have walked home anyway if they found out that was really the plan – they knew they could.

    I did my first AT thru-hike in 1980 (many day and overnight hikes before then) almost 35 years later – it’s a whole new world up there now. (holy crap, I had to do the math, 35 years, wow, how did that happen!) Back then you were lucky if you could even find the trail, lucky if you didn’t get lost everyday. Lucky if you could find a roof or food anywhere on or near the trail, let alone a warm shower, real meal and bed. Lucky if you could make it up (or down) some of the inclines without climbing gear (that stuff is heavy to lug around) Lucky to find a town that would “let you in” and not chase you back into the woods where you came from. We didn’t have all the gear like we do now, we made due with what we had, the new gear makes a Huge difference in the pain and energy spent.

    I’ve spent a lot of time up there fixing and marking the trail over the decades – and searching for lost people, and leaving magic all along the way every chance I get. The Angels and Magic found on the trail is ABUNDANT now. Our joke is, even the 3 Fat Guys in the Woods (have you seen that show yet?), even the spoiled clean suburbanites could do it now. My sarcastic buddy says – It’s like going to the mall now, or any other tourist trap. Too crowded for us. But that doesn’t keep us from enjoying watching people try to recreate much of what we got to experience.
    Um, there is cell coverage and access to the internet here and there all along the A trail. It’s even marked on some maps. People blog while on the trail LOL use GPS, can text or call 911 and the rescue teams show up quickly….

    It’s very similar to comparing the Daytona or Sturgis Bike Rally from then to now. The veteran and civilian bikers and hikers that were once unwanted outcasts (for the way they looked, dressed and choice of alternative lifestyles) are now welcomed with open arms Most everywhere. And some even with the respect they have been long due. 🙂 “Build it and they will come.”

    When I think about the trails now, mostly all I can think of is pain, feeling sorry for myself, often not wanting to take another step, and finding patience and determination to “keep moving-or die”.

    Same with the bike trips – the butt can hurt as much as the feet, until they turn to iron, and they will.
    Sometimes makes me wonder why I have over 16,000 thru-hike-miles on my feet, and far more on my butt.

    I have found that you can find this same kind of “allowed to be alone in the head and away from everything on purpose therapy” in the sky and under the sea too. As well as in the studio and workshop if you can stay in there uninterrupted for long enough. They all come with their own different physical pains to tuff out, and lack of good sleep of course.

    I am afraid the physical pain may be the key, though I am not willing to admit that quite yet.

    Does make me wonder why I am planning on the Florida Trail next year 🙂 and a good long dive while I am down there. I know it’s gonna hurt, a lot, you know it will.
    Insanity is my best guess.
    Could be in the blood somewhere? I got my trail name after a few serious incidents on the trail, it was said by a Vietnam combat Vet (as I stood there shaking inside, too afraid to shake on the outside!) “My God, does nothing shake you woman? We know where you came from now! And where you belong, Woodsy One.”

    I heard that a University in Georgia is doing a study on this “walking it off” type of what they call ‘alternative’ therapy. I’m interested to see what they find. I’ve seen it actually work for many, and for me too. I hope that’s what they find the most of.


    • pammcrae

      November 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      You are an amazing human being. One in a million. 🙂


  22. Beth

    November 18, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    What one Grandma can do, another can do.


    • pammcrae

      November 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      Weeellllll, perhaps. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but you’ve got to have the will. To each his own. I don’t think there are many who can do what you did, grandmas or not. 🙂


  23. Beth

    November 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    omg Grandma Gatewood is all over the internet! More of her story, readings from her diary and poems! I’ve always been so curious about her. And they are attempting to do a documentary on her life!

    Now I am just too excited LOL
    I forget near about everything is on the internet now.

    I’d kind of forgotten how much her story (the tiny bit that I knew about it) influenced, inspired me. Glad to see it wasn’t just me! Glad I googled her today, thanks Pam 🙂

    And Joe may have even gotten his motivational line from me, I all too well remember now saying stuff like “If me and GrandmaG can get our old asses up this hill, or across this creek, so can you buddy, get movin!”

    Maybe I can also find out what happened with Doc’s gang kids online too…fingers crossed.
    making that trek alone with 3 B A D boys was something, can’t imagine adding even one more!


  24. Beth

    November 21, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Dang, Grandma Gatewood was pretty harsh! She makes me look like kitten.

    There are millions of women (men too) walking somewhere today, walking all day today, and maybe all day tomorrow and the next. Some have to, some don’t. But many are. It’s a pretty neat thing to me. 🙂

    I can’t help but think… and share… of all the hard stuff I have done, or has happened to me, the things I have survived, mental and physical…

    The hardest thing by far, the bravest thing by far, the most physically, mentally and emotionally painful thing by far that I have ever done – was searching and reuniting with my lost family.

    And attempting to process and incorporate it all into my life, and the lives of my kids/family.

    By far the hardest and scariest thing on this planet I have found.

    Snake and spider bites, bear attacks, man attacks, cliffs, caves, rivers, falling out of the sky, endurance pain, all of the miles, working so hard and long that your fingers bleed and your feet turn blue with bruises and your limbs stop working, childbirth, 30 years of marriage LOL, near death experiences –
    pffftttt nothing, all of that was simple and easy – compared to search and reunion.

    It’s the accomplishment that I am most proud of.

    It’s taken much from me and hurt me the most in any and everyway.

    I still don’t find or feel the closure in it, and can’t imagine I ever will.

    I still am so exhausted and so relieved that I did it.
    I did it. I made it happen, against all odds. FTW


    • eagoodlife

      November 24, 2014 at 5:16 am

      I have no belief in ‘closure’, we learn, we change, we accept or we don’t. Nothing wipes away the past nor should we look to do that. Be proud, the hard things require courage. Having been newly diagnosed with PD I have watched an interview with Ali today. He tells that his biggest achievement is not pretending he doesn’t suffer from all the effects of PD.


      • Beth

        February 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

        Sorry to hear about your DX 😦 That’s a tuff one to accept. I hope you are having a good day today.
        I agree and don’t believe in closure like I thought I had before. It really is acceptance or not, there’s not an end to it, it’s not closed, sometimes it might even be over, but it’s still there.
        I think sometimes for me, the “closure” has been accepting it, surviving it and learning to live with it. That won’t be over, for me, until I’m dead, and who knows about “closure” after death? and even at my death it can still be there for others who are still living with it, depending on what “it” is.


  25. Beth

    November 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I can’t say it enough.

    By far the hardest and scariest thing on this planet I have found to endure.

    I don’t think people realize how difficult it really can be on a human.

    Keep that in mind the next time you see someone brave enough to try to endure it.
    Be kind, they deserve kindness.


  26. wOOdsy1

    August 11, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Wild Boy Update 🙂

    One of our grown sweet B A D Wild Boys just hired 4 new wild boys to help work at his fairly new to him farm and saw mill. This should be so very interesting to me 🙂
    They moved in this weekend, all are between 18 and 21.
    2 are from DC, 1 from Baltimore and 1 from Richmond.
    Their Mama’s shipped ’em off for bigger and better chances to find their fortunes.
    They are not B A D like my wild boys – THANK GOD
    But they are city fellas, so… hopefully they will accept that issue and recover from that city way of thinking quickly or they will never make it here!

    One worries me a bit, he is not happy about his new situation at all, he stinks highly of just plain ole lazy and hard to get along with. He doesn’t seem to be interested or excited about any of the work options at all, even tho he agreed to take the job. Refused to choose one “who cares, doesn’t matter, you choose”. He’s the only one who isn’t signing up for school. Won’t unpack and get settled/comfortable/ready to roll. He says all are a waste of his time.

    I couldn’t get an answer out of him of what he wants to do, what could be worth his time – I only have a few more days to talk him into giving school a try this semester. I now understand why his Mama ran out of here like her ass was on fire LOL she didn’t even stay for the Mama beverage and snack time!

    Woodsy Woodsman Jr ((((my sweetest most thoughtful and diligent Wild Boy)))) even made Sangria for the Mama’s (and one Dad)! And had cheese, crackers, watermelon and cookies with real china, crystal glasses, candles, flowers, fabric tablecloth and fancy napkins. And it all matched and had a theme, we even had pretty toothpicks and someone to serve us! It was the first time he served me food in his new home, I tried real hard not to cry, didn’t work so well, but I don’t think he saw me.

    Someone sure raised him right 😉 No lazy bones left in that one! Everyone was impressed and hopeful that his thoughtfulness would wear off on their sons LOL

    When the parents left he made dinner on the grill for the guys while they had their first get to know you work meeting outside at the “old regular meeting place”. I tried, but had to leave then, too hard to fight back the tears. I’ve done the Meet and Eat there many, many times and am even happier to be able to do it there many more, hopefully. My dear old friend left his home, saw mill and some of his farm land to WW Jr. when he died. I am so very proud to say that he is doing better than right by everyone, including himself. He and I couldn’t be more happy, or more proud about it.

    All have been given the equal “Right To Work Be Fired or Quit At Will” here in Virginia. I can see a pink slip or an escape in this new one’s near future, ya never know tho. I hope not for his Mama’s sake!!
    Lazy won’t work for him at all here LOL good thing for my sweet Woodsman that this is an employment gig and not a guardian gig 🙂
    Speaking of lazy :-0
    I thought it was really odd that he had advertised far and wide to hire people all spring and summer and couldn’t find any takers.
    $10/hr full time+, free room and meals, flexible schedule for college/family OR every Sunday off. Day Care, Profit Sharing and College Scholarship Opportunities Available.
    Not one legal taker. I thought it was odd, you’d think someone would have found this situation valuable. I rarely have trouble finding help, but I have never placed an ad in the newspapers or craigslist.
    I sent out some emails for him, and some Mama’s caught wind of it 🙂
    and I am not the boss, nor the mama of any of it, hahaha, and I am leaving town soon for a couple months, buwahahahaha, paybacks are too sweet, sort of want to stick around and watch him try to get some profitable work out of these guys, and wait til they break something expensive that he really needs. Maybe someone will send me a video of the fall out hahahhahahaaa
    I’ll be here long enough for the homesick game to run it’s course, help in finding a work/school/life routine, and most importantly for helping them to memorize this line:
    “Rest not from duty, but find rest in it.”
    then I am out!
    I think I may be enjoying this entirely too much. 🙂 Thought I’d share the joy!



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