DNA has revealed who my father is and it has brought mixed blessings. Happiness on one hand and sadness on the other. Great because it’s something I have wanted since finding out that my dad wasn’t my dad. No great loss there but that is another story.
Some of you already know how my mother told me 20 years ago that my father was an American airman with very little detail which meant I had nothing much to go on. Retrospectively I recall my internal world shifting, before dropping into place like a rubix cube taking its rightful shape. Recognition of why my so-called paternal grandma and family seemed to have disliked me, keeping me at arm’s length, however I put this down to my brother being the favourite.
Sadness comes from the thoughts of what I may have missed. What might life have been like with a different family, a more loving attentive father. Like many unhappy children I would look up at the stars and question if I really belonged to this family, was I adopted? Perhaps hoping someone would come and rescue me from this unhappy life.
I was about five years old when I took a serious look at my parents and recognised something was wrong. As children we take what we have without choice, we know no different other than the adults around are there to hang onto or we may not survive. I protected myself for many years by believing that most people could not be trusted. Through the wonderful world of therapy I found the truth of my defence system and learned to let others in whilst also recognising that we are all the same in what can seem like a complicated world.
Finding out about who my father is and allowing my imagination to run wild in terms of what might have been has unfolded regret and grief. I can only surmise how my life might have been within a different family, without the abuse and violence, without the insecurity. I know this will pass because everything fades with time. I remember when my beloved Alan died at just 56 of mesothelioma I thought that I would never recover from the grief but also at the same time knowing every sadness fades. I also recognise no family is perfect and even if I’d had a different life there would have been issues as there are in every family.
I believe our parents influence who we become and how we think and feel, we make decisions about self, others and the world and stay fast in those beliefs or soften and change with time. Nowadays I tend to be more philosophical and take life as it comes so my mother waiting 53 years to tell me who my father was could have done me a favour because I haven’t had to grieve the loss as a young woman. Being older has its advantages. It has been too late to meet him in person so I am prevented from being disappointed whilst also of course being able to recognise myself in his image. There are so many facets to this story and so much to learn but also too much mystery.
I have found new American cousins who have been caring and kind and that in itself has been joyous. Having pictures of my father has given me a sense of belonging and to get to my age and find that is no mean achievement.