I wasn’t really sure that blogging this was the right thing to do. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to find the right words to write. I wasn’t sure that it would be a comfortable topic for my family and friends. I wasn’t sure what my heart felt. It’s been a long time coming and I believe that I have sorted through emotion and prepared myself for this moment. And on top of that I believe I might gain the closure I so desperately need. I also know that now this is public and my family will potentially see this and that’s completely fine. My feelings do not need to be hidden. My feelings are something I am entitled to whether the family likes it or is hurt by it.
Let me explain, my grandmother Mary gave birth to her first child, my mother Theresa, at the tender age of 18. I realize that in the year of 1956 this was something was not ideal in a Catholic family. For reasons I’m not fully able to understand (Mary WAS an adult at 18) Mary’s biological mother, Audrey, and step-father, Joseph, raised Mary’s first born child. The family was told Theresa was her sister and that was that. No questions were to be asked. I am told this area of the story by the family as Mary was no longer able to tell us what happened when we learned all of this. She was sadly in her final stages of dementia. My mom grew up her whole life knowing Mary as her sister, not her mother. My mothers “sisters” grew up KNOWING Mary was her mother and Theresa was their niece, not their sister. As time would have it, Audrey passed away in 1978. At this time my mother Theresa was just 21 years old. She grew up the rest of her life without a mother. At age 22 Theresa gave birth to her first child, a daughter. That daughter is me. I grew up my entire life without a grandmother. Further following at age 31 Joseph would pass away from natural causes. Theresa spent the rest of her life without a father. I had a grandfather for just 8 delicate years. My biological father was not in the picture. This left just my mother’s side of the family.
Years would pass and things would happen that would make my mother question her life and what she knew as her parents. She was approached at one point in a bar, which my mother played darts at, by a gentleman who claimed he was her father. Being that it was a bar, she blew it off. Strange things happen in bars and this wasn’t any exception. The problem is, this gentleman was more then likely being 100% truthful. Now the mission to find this man is anything but easy, I have a full name and what we believe is his last know address. I’ve tried and tried and I come up empty handed. My hope is that this post will be shared and perhaps reach one of his children or grandchildren who will reach out. The last know address is in a tiny town near here and the house is no longer there.
As years go by, my mom had questioned what she knew as her sisters (that were actually her aunts) about her mother and father. My mom felt different, she felt something wasn’t right, but she was always told she was being irrational and that she was wrong in her thoughts. I will NEVER understand why at this point things continued to be a buried secret (lie). At this point my mother is growing up with no parents and has had a child of her own. She proceeded to have 3 more children and marry. None of this time did the family feel it was time to tell her the truth and let go. There would be no betrayal to their parents by letting the truth be know because their parents had long since passed.
Mary needed closure. She made this known in July 2009. While all the family was around Mary went on to tell me (with everyone else in the room) that my mother was her daughter. It took some time, but the family finally validated this. They didn’t however give us any answers or want to tell us anything more then we knew. Mary passed away this past November (just days after Thanksgiving). She was 75 years old. She passed away with her children by her side. She lived a very hard life. She was the strongest person I know. She had peace when she was passing. She knew that the truth was out and that her daughter knew. The entire situation is more then I can still bear to swallow.
Mary moved 1200+ miles away from her sisters. I believe she did this because she couldn’t bear to see her daughter and not be able to tell her, to have that mother/daughter relationship. I’ve decided to write Mary a letter. So here it goes:
I love you. I’ve always loved you. My heart broke when I learned that we’d lost so many valuable years. I’m sorry that you were made to keep this secret. I’m sorry that we never had the relationship we should have had. I’m sorry you missed out on your first child and only daughter’s life. I hope and pray that you find peace in heaven. I hope and pray that your heart doesn’t ache anymore. I hope you understand exactly how important it was for my mother and I to get on a flight and to your side the moment I learned that you were ill and not doing well. I hope that you know just how much it meant to my mother and I to see you this past summer and to have those last moments with you. As I sit and think about things, I find so much of you inside of me. I’m sorry that you never got to be great grandma to my two children who would have fully embraced you. I am just terribly sorry and heartbroken for how it all went down. I WISH I could have just a moment, just a day.. I want you to know that you are loved more then words, you are missed more then anything, you are the reason I fight this fight. I hope to be half as strong as you were. I hope that I teach my children all the values in life and relationships that you were robbed of. I will never let you be forgotten. I will never not miss you. I will never not miss what could have been. I will forever hold you in my heart. I cherish it all. I loved you then, I love you now and I will love you forever. You may not be here on earth anymore, but you are always with me in my heart. We will meet again and I want you to know that I understand you did what you needed to do. I’m sad for the lost years and the lost time, but we will see each other again.
Your Granddaughter, Bobbie
Here’s the thing.. this is a LIFE lesson. There is NO reason that something this life shattering for everyone should be held inside. I have relationships in my life that have forever changed. I have relationships that have crumbled. I have new relationships that I adore. I wouldn’t change any of it. I’ve always had the feeling like there were members of the family that didn’t care for me, my mother, my family.. and I’ve let go. I can’t change it and at this point I don’t want to. I won’t go into names and calling people out. I don’t need to. Everyone knows what they’ve done and everyone is responsible for that. Furthermore, I feel like my grandma wouldn’t want me to hate people because of it. To the ONE household of members that has embraced me and always been there for my mother and I, thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done. I wouldn’t change a minute of the time and love we’ve had. I wouldn’t change the godparents to my children. I would only ask that in this matter you allow me to feel my feelings, because I am entitled to that. I am sorry if it hurts you when I express my pain. I didn’t make this choice though, it was made for me. I don’t hate anyone. I’m sad, upset and heartbroken, but I’m letting go. I’m letting go because I have to, because I want to, because my grandma would want me to. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t deeply hurt my heart. As I stare at the photos, the last moments with my grandma from 3 months ago, I cry. It hurts. It will ALWAYS hurt. The closure I could not get….
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