So let’s take this too much-ness one piece at a time.

It seems I was there when they took Veroushka away. I assumed I wasn’t—it seems so unlikely. Why should I be there? But I was.

Actually, I’ve had the memory of her being taken away since I remembered she existed, but I thought it was a memory of what I pictured happening and not what did happen. Yesterday, the full emotional experience of the memory landed and it makes it clear that I was there.

It’s a blurred memory. It’s not one that tells me in an even semi-organized fashion what happened. Really, it says only what happened to me.

I know there were a dozen red roses on a table and Veroushka was being taken away and that’s all I know for certain. Now, I don’t know why there were roses or even the size of the table—was it a full-sized table or just a night table? I can’t tell. I don’t know who was taking Veroushka or how Natalya was reacting to it.

What is clear—the only thing that is clear—is that I had a meltdown. Complete, total descent into a traumatic reaction.

Because, of course, I was once taken away too. I was taken away from my foster parents and sent back to hell.

When they took Veroushka away, all of that was triggered again, and my confused response was to think there’s no way a baby can survive that kind of hell—as if the only place you can go when you are taken away is straight to my natural parents’ house. And I assumed she was going to die.

In fact, whenever I think of her being taken from Natalya, I think, “…when she died,” and I have to correct myself. She didn’t die. She was adopted, and it’s completely possible she has had a safe and happy life ever since.

It is completely heartbreaking to remember this—not just my reaction, but the vivid memories it brings back of being taken from Lala and Loocey. My world completely shattered at that point. I think the best way to describe it is as if I decided, in my baby way, that life is just cruel. People are cruel, fate is cruel, God is cruel. No one cares about my welfare or anyone’s welfare and the only thing to do is to go on bracing yourself for the worst. Because that is what will happen. Eventually. And it’s going to keep happening. It was as though my little brush with happiness, my few months of peace and safety and warmth, was nothing more than a mirage. Whatever happens, I seemed to have thought, the good stuff will end. And not just return to average, but descend into absolute torture.

I was two years old.