Burying the Hatchet

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Burying the Hatchet

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Posted: 10/3/2009
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

"We are trying to help my terminally ill uncle find his estranged daughter. He is bedridden and not expected to live much longer. Years ago he lost contacted with his daughter, and though time is short to make amends, his dying wish is to see her one more time, tell her he loves her, and put her in his will. Her name is Gail White, she was born in May of 1958 in San Francisco. 20 years ago when we last saw her, she worked at a bank in San Francisco. She attended Sonoma State University and had two half-brothers, Jim and Gary--thats all we know. She may have married and changed her name, but we don't have much time, please help us."

That was the email Greg sent SQA in June. His case was assigned to Julie Jones, one of SQA's most experienced investigators. She worked the case around the clock for 15 days, tracking down every lead and ruling out several individuals by the same name in the California area. Finally, after only 2 weeks, Julie emailed Greg with Gail's contact information. Today, Gail lives with her family in Moorpark, CA. Her life was completely ordinary until she received the phone call from Greg out of the blue.

"I explained rather abruptly that I was contacting her about her father. She was cold at first, but when I explained that he has terminal cancer and isn't expected to last much longer, she went silent and when she spoke again, her voice was softer. This is never the circumstance you hope for when you contact someone you haven't seen in 20 years, but I suppose it was better than calling to invite her to his funeral."

Gail reflects, "Of course I wondered about my father from time to time. Occasionally I thought about contacting him to bury the hatchet, but after so many years of estrangement, how do you even find the words to start over? How do you even find it in you to want to? When my cousin told me my father was terminally ill, I didn't know how I should feel. How do you mourn for a man you hardly know? How do you reconcile the bitter memories with the picture of a man on his deathbed? With my family's encouragement, I agreed to pick up the phone and talk with my father for the first time in 20 years. At first our conversation was stiff, and when silence fell I realized my father was weeping on the other end. I cried with him, told him I loved him, and agreed to put aside our differences. A few days later I booked a flight from California to Arkansas and had the opportunity to hug my father before he passed away. It was a healing experience for both of us. I am so grateful for Search Quest America! I can't believe you found me so quickly, but I am happy you did--you have saved me a great deal of regret and sorrow, and gave me the opportunity to forgive and obtain forgiveness. That is a priceless gift and I thank you."

(Written by Mica Burton on Greg and Gail's behalf.)

Client ID #246112
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