Not Every Story Has a Happy Ending

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Not Every Story Has a Happy Ending

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Posted: 1/13/2010
Note: Names, Identifying informaiton and details may have been altered to protect personal identities.

Not every story is meant to have a happy ending. Mine doesn't. The reason I have decided to share is simply because everyone in search of a missing loved one needs to know that the search might turn out like a fairy tale, or maybe like a nightmare. You have to be prepared for either scenario, trust me, I know.

From the time I was a little girl, I thought my father was dead. Worse than just being dead, I was told that he killed himself shortly after finding out my mother was pregnant with me. You can imagine the baggage that went along with that knowledge. I grew up thinking that my father was dead because of me, and that by being born I killed him.

I specifically recall an incident when I was about 7 years old. My mother was very angry with my sister and brother's dad. They were divorced and he and his family came to visit. That was the first time I realized that I was treated differently than my siblings. My relatives talked about me in hushed tones and I was sure they thought of me as a murderer. Little did I know that the reality could be even worse.

A few years ago, my grandmother went through a particularly difficult episode with Alzheimer's. One afternoon during a lucid moment, she drew me near and told me that my father was still alive and that I should find him. When I confronted my mother about it she got very angry and told me never to speak to her about "that man" again. Instead of dissuading me, it sparked my curiosity and I began searching for my father. All I knew was his name and approximate age, and that he was born somewhere in Texas.

I contacted Search Quest America at the beginning of December, and received a call back right before Christmas. Julie cautioned me to sit down, and then gave me news more shocking than I imagined--my father is alive today, but is serving a sentence in prison for a violent sexual assault against a child. I was speechless, and then began to cry. I was prepared to find out that he had died, but was totally blindsided by the news that my father is a criminal and an abuser. Suddenly the whispers and sad looks took on a whole new meaning and I realized that I am the child of a sex offender. Needless to say, this wasn't the Christmas gift I was hoping for.

Julie gave me a few days to think it over, and then provided me with information to contact my father's ex-wife, who still lives in Texas and could give me information about my siblings and other family members I may want to contact. So far, I still haven't done anything with it. What would I say? What would I write? It's just something I am trying to work out and I am taking each day one step at a time.

I have read plenty of stories from people who say it is better to know than always wonder about the truth. Personally I say that ignorance is bliss. Part of me wishes I had left the whole situation alone. Another part is grateful to be free of the guilt I have carried over the past 40 years thinking I killed my father just by being born. My family and friends have been very supportive in the whole ordeal, and I am grateful for that.

I guess all I am trying to say is that if there is anyone out there in my shoes trying to decide whether or not to search for a lost loved one, just think about it carefully. Take off the rose-colored glasses and consider the fact that your story might not have a happy ending. I'm not sure what I will do or if I will contact his family. For now I am just taking it one day at a time and trying to remember that I am not defined by my patronage, but by the decisions I make with my own life.

(Written by Mica Burton on Andrea's behalf.)

Client ID# 262347
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