March 26, 2023

No answers in sight

My daddy is the man who raised me. I know who he is. His name is Carl.

My biological father is the man who created me. I know who he is. His name is Harry.

Carl and Harry knew each other. Socialized together. Vacationed together. Spent holidays with their families together. 

Two very different men with two very different roles. I terribly wish I could speak with both of them, but to have very different conversations. 

If I had just 10 minutes with each man...

I'd simply hold my daddy's sweet hand, put my head on his strong shoulder, close my eyes, and just breath. Words would not be necessary. 

I'd ask my father one critical question:  Did you know about me? 

A few years ago, I learned via DNA that my mother had an affair with a man she worked for in the late 1950s. I knew this man. And his wife. And their son. They were close friends of my parents. When they retired to a sunny tropical place, we visited numerous times. I remember these folks very fondly. 

I've also discovered that my daddy was likely sterile. Possibly from war wounds, or possibly from his exposure to toxic chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune during his military service. That's a whole situation.  

So was daddy's likely inability to make a baby what spurred my mother's relationship with my father? Deliberately, so they could have a family? Or was it just a passionate moment that took an unexpected turn? Was it an ongoing relationship? Did his wife know? Did my daddy know? Shoot, I'll never know. But I speculate on this quite a lot.

I never would have pegged this man to be my father. Once DNA convinced me Carl was not my bio father, I started searching for him. I had a mental list of potential candidates. This man was not on my list. So when I saw his name, it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

Memories of time spent with both couples only add to my long list of questions.  Someone recently asked me "does it really matter"?  Well, yes. And no. 

Since I learned of this situation, I've done quite a lot of research on the biological family. Some living bio family members weren't thrilled about this. Offended even. Others didn't seem to care. A few have been very kind and supportive. The research allows me to feel like I knew these folks who were my family. I've even found some things about them that made me feel pride. And sadness. Even found a few scandals. No different from most families.

I will wrangle with this the rest of my life. Not in a bad way. I don't wring my hands, or have any negative emotions toward anyone over it. But I do have questions. Lots of questions. It changed everything. It changed nothing.

The real issue is what to do with the unknown. I'll admit that I even have a little geeky fun digging for answers. 

I'm still processing, even though it has now been years since I made the discovery. Good thing I'm a genealogist. I know which rocks to look under.

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