It was a tough decision and I talked to as many people about it as I could. Most were very supportive, and felt that giving Suzanne up was the right thing to do. To me it was a head heart problem. My head was telling me it was the right thing to do, my heart kept saying no.
One friend at kohanga was not supportive. She told me that if I was Maori I wouldn’t do it. It was real pakeha thing to do, giving away a child. No Maori would send their child away, they would find another way. This confused the hell out of me. I had been to Tokanui. There were Maori children there, lots of them. Their parents had given them up.
I talked to Tepora about it. She said my friend had a reason for feeling that way. Her sister died in Tokonui. She was send there after their parents died and only lasted a few months. My friend obviously felt really guilty about it. But she was only a child herself and couldn’t take care of her sister as well as go to school. The choice was taken out of her hands.
But the choice was mine and only mine. I went and had a look at the house. It was lovely just across from the Mount library. It was very spacious and had big bedrooms. Work needed to be done to make it accessible and while they said November, the possibility was it could be longer.
It took me a while to work through everything.Visiting her often would be difficult. I still couldn’t drive and the Mount was to far to bike to. She would still be at CDU so I would be able to see her there though being at kohanga every day would make that difficult.
Looking back now, it was a the right decision. But then I was full of doubts and guilt. My friend certainly didn’t help. She kept telling me how terrible I was for even considering it.
Once however, I had decided Suzanne should go, I wanted her to go. I looked forward to spontaneity, Just hoping in the car and going somewhere without a thought or a plan. Life would be so much simpler, I wouldn’t have to worry about lifting or cooking special meals, in fact we could go out to eat. Now that was a novel idea.
IHC however weren’t ready. The work was taking longer than expected. That made it so much harder. I had made the decision and was mentally prepared for what would be such a difficult thing to do but now, I had to wait. It just seemed so unfair. I had made the hard call and now I had to wait for them to be ready.
It wasn’t til the end of January, that she finally left home. I cried buckets. I doubted my decision. I wondered how I could do this. Prue was great. She understood how I was feeling and how much I was going to miss Suzanne. And it was ok to feel that way.
Suzanne was the oldest in the house. There were three others. Their parents had made the hard call too. I was grateful, we had her at home almost eight years longer than the professionals said I could manage, though I have to admit, they stopped suggesting Tokanui once Marty was on the scene.
Marty pulled the bed down in the lounge and we had a bit more space. We moved Simon into the girls room so he had more space as well. It was the start of new part of our lives. Suzanne would always be a part of us, but she wasn’t with us.
And I was really sad about that but the realist in me told me it was for the best for all of us. it still seemed bloody unfair but I had made the decision.
Now I had to live with it.