April 22, 2018

Forgiveness and Secret Burdens

I don’t often surprise myself, but my willingness to be open and forthcoming about my DNA discovery has surprised me. Oh I’ve hesitated a time or two, when I feel my story is painting my mother in a poor light.

After all, it makes her look like a promiscuous woman who had a torrid affair and shamed my father, not to mention the child borne of that affair.

But it’s not like that at all. Not at all. My mother was a real hoot. She was adventurous, generous, kind, and forgiving. She was not without her issues, as we all are, but it can absolutely be said that she was a GOOD woman. A lovely person on many levels.

Mom was a very complex person. She was drop dead gorgeous and I suspect she often used her beauty to manipulate men.  I don’t believe she ever understood this about herself.  Later in life, she developed health issues that are often the result of bad habits like a lifetime of heavy smoking and drinking.  She was always somewhere between being proud of the life she built and feeling disappointed about the life she didn’t live. I get that; I’ve experienced the same emotion.

Daddy wasn’t nearly as complicated as mom. He was a proud and simple man. All he ever wanted was a better life than the one he was born into on the wrong side of the tracks in Raleigh, NC. And he was willing to work hard for that better life. He was shining proof that hard work pays off. He is my hero in so many ways. I wish I was more like him, though maybe I’m more like him than I appreciate.  I sure hope so. I want to be the best of both parents – I want to live my life in a way that represents the very best they had to give.

I’ll never know the real story behind my mom’s relationship with my biological father. I do
know the two families were close and remained close long after my birth. My current theory is that daddy was sterile due to his war injuries. Mom and dad had been married 8 years when I was born and had no children after me. Perhaps Harry was a means to an end…the only way for them to have a child? Perhaps the relationship had nothing to do with torrid affairs and clandestine meetings in cheap motels. Maybe everyone knew the score.

I consider it both a blessing and a curse that there is no one left for me to ask. I’ll never really know the truth. There is some sense of loss in that, but there is also an understanding that being an adult is complicated. Life is complicated.