I was chatting recently with a friend, who has teens the same age as my own and will be heading off to university next fall. We were both fuming about the recent attack by our provincial government on funding for post-secondary education, and the tuition hikes and staff cuts that have resulted.

“I was talking with my mom about this, and she reminded me that we will be fine. Between them and our own efforts, we can make sure our kids get their degrees,” she told me.

It wasn’t until a few days later I started really hearing what she said.

We’ll be fine.

Famous last words of the entitled and very true.

We are solidly in the professional class. We have degrees of our own and the ability to plan ahead for our children’s education, save when we can, and make whatever budget adjustments in the moment that are necessary. Our kids will be fine.

Not that it won’t be an inconvenience, or mean readjusting expectations for our own lives and retirements even perhaps, but my teen and her teens will go to university and graduate with a minimum of debt. In today’s world, the only bigger advantage would be having parents who can foot the bill entirely.

But the more I thought about “we’ll be fine” the more it angered me.

Why is my kid going to be fine, but some of her classmates not so much?

And from there, I went on to assess current events in Canada and in the United States and realized the “we'[ll be fine” mantra is the root of more issues than not and has been for a long while.

I won’t blame the Boomers. Entirely. They were taught this bit of selfish. They didn’t invent it. But they, and their parents in the Greatest and Silent (what an aptly named bunch) Generations certainly perfected it and embedded it deeply within our societies and our politics.

We’ll be fine is what stops the privileged from taking the extra step or stepping into another’s shoes in the first place. It allows people to pretend their known outcome requires so much of their time and resources that nothing is left to spare for others who aren’t going to be fine no matter what they do.

It’s why people vote their conscious or agitate for revolution. When you’ll be fine, the unintended consequences and collateral damage to others really doesn’t matter.

Best example today of “we’ll be fine” is the Democratic primary in the United States. Where two groups with different visions of what fine looks like largely ignored a substantial base, their issues, and a vastly different idea of what fine means in real time.

In Canada, this same mantra has morphed into people who are fine trying to convince people who are slowly getting to fine to give that fine opportunity up because it’s not fine enough.

A cousin on Facebook today lamented the discord not feeling fine creates on their feed, but instead rolls by in a steady wave of discontent. Why can’t we all just appreciate the bits of fine flotsam and jetsam in our lives? And while the point about appreciating what’s right in front on you is well taken, I can’t help but wonder if the maybe the veneer of fine is wearing as thing for others as it is for me?

On a personal level, I have no complaints. Not really. Irritations maybe. Normal worries. But serious discontent? No. Those days are so far in my rear view they seem like a life someone else lived.

But I am not okay pretending “we’ll be fine” – because it’s true – is a good enough reason to not rage at the machine, which makes sure this isn’t the case for everyone.

Why should I turn a blind eye to racial injustice preventing people from voting and being represented by folks who could improve lives and communities? Why not point out the stubborn resiliency of misogyny? Or how inequity in education access is a waste of human potential that could benefit all of society and not just individuals in pursuit of material gain?

Why should I keep silent when my elected officials are greedy and corrupt? Or not remind people Google is their damned friend when they are sharing garbage websites written by weaselly trolls and fattening their own purses in the process?

I am supposed to sit silently by? Like the people who watched Jim Crow terrorize black communities? Like the people who did nothing when their drunk friend was led away to a bedroom at a frat party, knowing what was going to happen? Like the coworkers who say nothing when the usual suspects make racist or misogynistic jokes?

There’s that poem, right? They came for X but I was Z – and just fine – so I did fuck all.

Easter on the horizon reminds me of the horrible Passion. I can’t even remember anymore how many times we had to read that during Holy Week. Father was Jesus. The congregation played the crowd. The crowd who shouted for him to be crucified.

“Cruxify him!”

I never said it. It incensed me. I didn’t even pretend to mouth the words.

Once my dad chastised me for it, and I told him, “I would never have said that.”

He didn’t correct me. He never brought it up again.

I feel like that now. That I am part of a crowd giving tacit consent to something that I don’t consent to whenever I stay quiet.

My privilege is part of the problem. I understand this. But I don’t know what to do about it other than refuse to stay silent.

I told my teen I need another outlet than annoying my cousins and high school friends on Facebook.

“Maybe I should write angry fan-fiction about a Prime Minister who is a secret superhero ridding the world of injustice?”

She grinned wickedly, “Do it.”

If only I could draw. It could be a graphic novel. I can only draw stick people however. This might be a problem.

I still have Twitter, where everyone speaks up, so like Hamlet in England, our madness is not much noticed.

I know one thing. It’s nothing is fine right now and people will not be able to hide from that much longer.


I have written about being adopted before. It’s not a secret thing. I have always known I was adopted and have always been forthcoming about it. It was neither good nor bad. It just was a fact. Like being ginger or near-sighted.

My feelings about my birth parents have waxed and waned since childhood. I was always curious, but as there was no way for me to satisfy my curiosity or find answers to my questions, I tempered my comments with some version of  “it doesn’t really matter cuz I don’t want to know them anyway”. Not strange really. When you know that rejection is a likely outcome, you are not going to set yourself up for it.

Last summer, my brother took one of those DNA tests at the insistence of his children. They were wildly curious about his birth family and wanted to know where he came from. I am not sure he did, but he can’t deny those girls anything, so he took the test and nearly instantly found a half-sister and a dad of sketchy repute.

After that my daughter, who has been curious about my background since she was quite young, thought a DNA test would be a good thing for me to look into as well. But, I didn’t do anything until the fall after my godmother died. Losing her left a hole and I guess finding my birth mother seemed like a logical way to fill it. Never-mind that this was expecting someone, who gave me away and never came looking for me in half a century, power she didn’t have and probably didn’t want. But grief isn’t very logical, and it isn’t like I haven’t looked for her before – because I have on and off for a couple of decades.

DNA tests themselves are interesting. They require a surprising amount of spit. They also don’t take as long as you would think. Less than six weeks from spitting to “here’s your ethnicity and a shit tonne of people you share DNA with!”

It upended a few things I had been told about myself. I am not, for instances, Swedish. Like at all.

I am, however, a very English though not so much Irish. More Norwegian than I would have ever expected and surprisingly, a tiny bit Icelandic, which is frankly kinda cool.

I had only 4 close matches though. No parents. No siblings.

Two of my matches were first cousins and one of them responded to my query. With her help, I found my birth mother in about two days. Well, my cousin’s help and my mom’s “help”.

I qualify the help part because I discovered in all of this searching for bio-mom thing that my parents had known her name all along. I could have found her years and years ago. They just chose not to tell me the truth when I asked them for information.

Oh, they let things slip here and there, and maybe had I been more observant and less ambivalent, I would have noticed.

The Nancy Drew stuff is a story for another day, but the short version is I found my mother, but unfortunately, she is dead. She died unexpectedly in 2014. Her husband died in 2018 though I have no idea if he ever knew about me. But I know my half-brother didn’t know about me. He told me so in an email. It was polite and basic info informative enough, but I really don’t expect to hear from him again. Disappointing, but family often is. Low expectations are best because those are the ones that will met much more often than not.

There are other relatives. A few cousins seem determined to establishing legit connections. I think that’s going well. I am – as I told my sister when we discussed it – sometimes too much myself for people. It can be off-putting. She didn’t say anything because what can one say to such self-awareness? And also, she agrees with my assessment of me. Sometimes I am a bit much.

Legit connections, however, are what I want. I am not a curiosity. As an adoptee, I have had my fill of my needs being ignored in the whole adoption thing. In my opinion, cats and dogs from rescue shelters have their feelings and well-being better looked after than human babies, who are treated as commodities in contracts between adults who are much more keen on their own issues and needs than the thoughts and opinions of a baby, who will one day be an adult with questions, needs, and opinions of their own.

The most satisfying part of the finding my mother’s family thus far is finding people I resemble. In some cases very strongly. I don’t think anyone can know what it feels like to not look like anyone you know unless you’ve been forced to exist in a community that is physically completely unlike you.

I grew up thinking everything about myself was wrong. Freakish. My hair. My height. My weight. I was made to feel, sometimes inadvertently but often purposely, that I was ugly and doing it on purpose to embarrass or annoy people.

Seeing pictures of my mother, who was beautiful, and being told I look so much like her was something I needed to hear growing up and never did. I am not sure I can forgive people for denying me the right to know I was perfectly normal. That includes all of my parents really. And everyone else who knew I was out there somewhere and never thought to come looking for me.

And that’s the “what hurts” part of this. Aside from my half-brother, almost everyone in my mother’s family knew about me. There is a younger cousin, who wanted to find me but didn’t have much to go on, but it’s a bit hard for me to be okay with having grown up and living most of my life within an hour or two of my mom’s family, and no one ever looked for me.

She didn’t look for me. She didn’t tell my brother about me. That’s nearly as big a betrayal as parents not telling me her name in the first place.

I don’t buy that they did this for my good. Because they didn’t. They did what they did for themselves. They never once considered me. How I would feel. How I did feel. How I feel still. They were selfish and short-sighted.

I’ve told people that my dad is lucky he died a decade ago because I would have ripped him a new one for burning my adoption info and lying to me all my life. But if I’d have found a live birth mom, less than an hour away from where I grew up? I don’t think I would have been too forgiving of her not seeking me out or at the very least, telling my brother about me. That she didn’t do that makes me feel dark and dirty. Maybe not her intention, but certainly something she should have thought about when she was pondering my birthday every year – as I am told she did.

So now, I have a “real” family tree now to go along with the one my dad and mom created for me via stories and pictures of their extended family. I am not finding either very satisfying right now.

Cans of worms, right? There’s a reason why Pandora was told not to open the box. I am not sorry though. I have some (not enough) medical information which has helped me enormously, so totally worth it from that standpoint. But, I have no closure. My mother is dead. Her son and brother are polite but not interested in helping me. No one seems to have clue one about my birth father (who ran away when he learned about my existence so my feelings are “fuck him” for the moment. I don’t have a use for such a coward). And that’s that.

For now.

It’s an evolutionary process. Bit by bit things are pieced together in a puzzle I never thought I’d be able to complete. That’s something anyway.


A Facebook friend posted today in memory of the anniversary of her first husband’s death. As I was skimming through the replies, another widow commented that you never forget.

That’s not true.

The anniversary of my first husband’s death was a month ago. I completely forgot about it until I say my friend’s post today.

Oh, I didn’t forget that he died. In fact, last night I was thinking quite a bit about his illness because of news I received about the spouse of a young woman who is like a niece to me. The similarities took me back a bit. But I didn’t remember the anniversary until today.

I didn’t know how to feel about this. I suppose I should feel terrible, but that’s not really how I feel. Not guilty either because going on with your life, and really being present in it is, in my opinion, the only healthy option.

But I have a lot of widowed friends, and I am privy to some of the ongoing grief they share online. Years and years after the fact, and even being enmeshed in new realities, they never let anniversaries roll on by.

I checked the calendar to see what was going on that week. Husband was away. Teen had first semester finals. My mother was struggling a bit because one of my younger siblings moved back in with her after their life fell apart. I suppose these are reasons for forgetting the day I had a husband die on me. It was quite a while ago.

Does it count that he pops up in my thoughts at other times?

I will guess that some of you would say no. Anniversaries are extremely important mile-markers for most bereaved. Like the memorials they set up virtually and in real life. Like the graves they visit. But, I don’t do any of those things either, so I suppose this is just one more thing to chalk up to me just being me.

People still read my old posts on grief. The dating ones more than others, but one of the questions that comes up early after a loss is “how long?” How long will this misery dog me? Will I ever be happy? Or even just feel okay and not relive the agony multiple times a year for the rest of my life?

I still don’t know how to answer  beyond assurance that for the majority of people, grief ends. Missing probably never ends for most people. Missing and sadness are not grief. And for some people, new chapters in life can offer as good or better lives.

I am okay with having forgotten. It’s a first. There’s always firsts with widowhood. So many firsts. This one I wasn’t expecting however.