Learning to Grieve as a Child

by Paul Brian Tovey, a UK domestic adoptee and talented artist, adoptee advocate, creator of the 2022 Global Anon Adoptee Survey

I was filling in the shades of another line picture yesterday of the “Dogpache” dancing with two Dogohawks and later noticed inflammation coming through my body and arms …

I do several iterations of images and they often yield a deep trek of Adoptee feelings .. In my case a core trauma is being child abused and used after Adoption ..

Slowly the trek of images echoes my feelings and also shows new angles and prisms which I use to resolve pain .. In my type of  therapy I can do at anytime I please now, as I am retired, I am trained to allow the feelings to be what they want to become .

So my arms went up in the air and into claws and then pictures of my birth mother came into my mind ..I felt like a child scratching her face. And I did that in my “image-spheres” and into the airs .. I am quite rationally,  crazy, and it’s all fine.. I have a well developed creative mind ..

Birth mom  left me at 3 and that core area is surrounded by later misuse of my body .. She knew the person she left me with as far back as 1940 when Birth mom was aged 7 ..Anyway,  I felt the pained feelings, but another prism returned of a stuck mouth .. Muffled languages. Stay safe … SAY NOTHING……Pressure to speak though ..

Finally the pain burst out of the howl-mouth-child-hole of me into resolving cries which were like a ghost child howling for mommy … It’s just another prism in the massive fragmentation field of early childhood mending for me  .. How does it mend ? By being and becoming itself ..By finally allowing being, to be inside being as itself .. To grieve as that child part … It is truth delayed for sure but able to be therapeutically re-experienced…..

Does it hurt ? When it’s in the stages of inflammations yes … You bet, because the body is hiding an old “lie” of the early mind which nonetheless tried to protect me from the horror..I don’t need protecting now (poor auto-brain) in fact I need to be all of me .. Held as me by me .. That’s all ..



Now I am finally old enough to be young again and feel things from the various pasts of me because I have a brain developed that can hold everything ..It’s a slow road back to feeling-connection and that form of internal integrity. I note though it’s necessary to let out the grief of: “Who should have been there and was not” …

That’s the point in reducing the unmet need (for mommy) into resolvable grief and crying …”Mommmmeeeeeee”… “HOwlllll”.. I’ve been on a slow road to acceptance of what happened, but what happened was over many pain distorted years .. It’s why I still befriend monsters in Art and make them cry and landscapes howl too ..

OWWWWWLLLL OWWWWOOOOOO …. I love howls they free my early primal soul that was chained to dissociative emotional prisons..I have learned to grieve as a child who was stopped from grieving…. I am here in myself … I have arrived .. I am home in my skin better and it is  sad in a more positive way simply  because tragedy is ..  

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