Artwork for podcast Who Am I Really?
Veronica
23rd September 2022 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
00:00:00 00:11:05

Share Episode

Shownotes

I'm back for season 11 of the, Who Am I Really? podcast. It's going to be another moving season of open, heartfelt discussions about the adoption experience from people from all walks of life.

But before we get to the season, I want to update you on my own journey. Some of, you may know that I lost my adoptive mother Veronica on Friday, September 2nd, 2022.

It was the end of a long road for her as mental illness had taken such a toll on both her mind and her body.

This is another part of my journey.

Who Am I Really?

Listen On

Social Media

Damon's own story in print and audio:

Transcripts

Season 11 Opener - Personal Update

[:

But before we get to the season, I want to update you on my own journey. Some of, you may know that I lost my adoptive mother Veronica on Friday, September 2nd, 2022.

It was the end of a long road for her as mental illness had taken such a toll on both her mind and her body.

To take you back. For some context, you may remember a few seasons ago. I updated you on a very rough time in Veronica's life.

Unfortunately, she had suffered the effects of dementia and paranoid schizophrenia so much that she moved away from me and my family here in Maryland without telling us she was relocating to Missouri, where she was born and raised.

the authorities and got her [:

Then, Veronica was released under her own recognizance. It was after her release while she was still medicated, that she started to feel better and subsequently stopped taking her meds and of course, relapsed back into the darkness.

One day, I got a call from one of mom's neighbors to say that he hadn't seen her in a few days. And there was a note on her front door. Upon further investigation. I found out that mom's home had been sold on the auction block because she hadn't been paying the mortgage.

I spoke with the new homeowner who was incredibly kind to me, even before I assured him I would do my very best to get mom out of his home as soon as possible.

In an unfortunate coincidence. All of that was happening at the same time as my father-in-law's transitioned from this life at his home in the Caribbean.

. Vincent and the Grenadines [:

Michelle flew home from a work trip in Los Angeles, packed a bag, and we flew out the next day for St. Vincent.

immediately upon our return to the states, I flew directly to Missouri to handle business with my mother.

When I arrived, I wasn't able to convince her to leave her home. So we had to call the local authorities.

The ambulance workers and the police quickly assessed that Veronica was not of sound mind, but they were not able to convince her to vacate peacefully either.

I witnessed one of the most challenging things I've ever endured with my family. As I watched my mother be forcibly removed from her home, strapped to a gurney, as she screamed, kicked and cussed at the authorities.

They wheeled her out to the ambulance and took her away.

it back to the dealership to [:

It was an extremely rough time that clearly marked the beginning of the end for mom

happened in the early part of:

After a brief institutionalization, she was released again, So she lived in hotel rooms. In the dead of winter, she tried everything she could to get back to her house, even though it was no longer hers. She walked miles in the cold bummed rides from strangers and rented a vehicle for herself in the fight to get back.

Finally in the midst of COVID and with the help of several people who know the Missouri mental health space, we were able to get mom a bed in a facility. She lived there for two years, her mind and her body following.

nt trips to be with Veronica [:

Reflecting on the whole thing. I've had some valuable confidants who have supported me. Michelle. And my son, Seth have been really supportive. My aunt Bonnie Veronica's only remaining. Sister of four has been there every step. But, you know, who's been an unexpected pillar of support.

My birth father, Bill. You may remember. I found bill completely by accident through ancestry DNA. I wasn't even looking for him, but because my mother-in-law is adopted, our family wanted to know more about her and we all did DNA tests and Bill popped up

Ever since I told bill about mom's demise,

he asked about her every time we talked. Sometimes I would admit to him that it was hard to call mom because she wasn't really there. We had no real conversation and sometimes she didn't even come to the phone. Bill would say on every call, do it anyway. Do it anyway.

e would echo in my mind. And [:

At the end of one of my first several trips to see mom, I arrived early at the airport before I had to return my rental car. I stopped on a side road at the Kansas city airport to watch the planes land. And with the extra time I called bill to check in and share updates.

The next time I flew to Missouri, I took Seth to visit with mom. Veronica and Seth hadn't seen one another since he was only a few months old and his little body could still fit in her hands. When we walked into that nursing home, I entered with a 14 year old boy, only an inch shorter than me on his way to young adulthood, destined to be bigger and better than me in every way.

When we walked in, I told mom that I brought someone to see her sitting in her wheelchair,

is COVID protection mask and [:

I asked her mom, do you know who that She looked up at me slowly and said, That's Seth.

My heart melted.

Paranoid schizophrenia and dementia had taken so much from my mother, but she was still able to pull it together and remember her grandson.

He and I were blown away.

We visited with her twice, once by ourselves. And once with Bonnie, when we left Seth and I dropped the top on the Mustang I rented and I pushed the accelerator to the floor on the way to the airport. We arrived early. And again, I called bill as Seth and I sat and watched planes take off and land. Before my final visit, the nurses at mom's nursing home were honest and said it was time to consider hospice care

th, but what stopped chewing [:

Mom was losing weight. Her blood pressure was fluctuating and they were seeing signs of the end.

At the end of this past summer, I made my final trip to sit by mom's bed. On the plane from Los Angeles to Missouri, I wrote a social media post about how weird it was to know that I was flying to see mom knowing the sole purpose of that trip was to say goodbye.

n my birth mother and died in:

On this trip to see Veronica. I knew it was the end. I told the nurses before my trip to let her know I was coming so that she would hold on if she had the strength.

en I arrived, I sat by mom's [:

Sometimes when someone's near the end, they are waiting for a loved one to show up. And I thought perhaps when I told mom goodbye a few days later, she would let go. One friend told me I should stay to be with her at the end. I thought about And I realized mom was going to go when she was ready, whether I was at her bedside or back at home, she would go when it was her time. After I got home, I checked my phone frequently looking for the call.

Every time, the phone rang. I thought this is it. Remarkably, the call never came. Minute after minute, hour after hour. And for several days, the call never came.

either really strong or very [:

The hospice nurse said a couple of times a year, she gets a patient that holds on way longer than expected. And even she was anticipating the call that never came.

We were astonished.

On Friday, September 2nd, I worked from home and after an emotionally trying week, I took a nap on the couch. I was awakened by my phone ringing and it was the nursing Veronica Faye Anderson was gone.

I was sad and relieved to finally get the news. Mom was no longer hearing voices in her head, struggling to live in her reality and ours in my long journey, as a loving caregiver was over. I cried, but I was fine. They were tears that marked the end of my mother's life on this earth. It was a definitive moment that I had anticipated, but I never could have considered myself prepared for.

family, my friends, and this [:

I will press on with the strength that my mother instilled in me as a single mom, raising her son. And I will press on with only one parental figure left in my life.

My birth father, bill. A man who didn't even know I existed, but who has been a great supporter on this piece of my journey

The weird irony of adoption reunion is

You get connected to all these new people, more parents, uncles, aunts and cousins, but then in the end, that's more people you will also have to be prepared to lose.

Thanks for listening. And I wish all of you the absolute best in your life's journey through adoption and reunion.

The, who am I really podcast? will be back with new guests, sharing their stories. Until then all the best.