To my Father,
HOW do I say all this stuff that has had to stay unsaid for most of my life? I never knew you; you never knew me... That’s how it always was, and, sadly, will probably always be.
You see, my mother got pregnant when she was 19, bringing shame and disgrace on the family. She was working in the RAF, at Halton in the UK, and that’s where she met you. She tells me you were training to be a butcher and that your nickname was “Butch”. But that’s all that she remembers about you. I think, even now, she still finds it embarrassing and hard to discuss. I gather it may have been a one-night stand, or a fling. And I came along some nine months later. She tells me that you knew, but weren’t interested and that you left the UK. Dad, I forgive you.
My natural mother was told never to come home, and to put me up for adoption, by her father. But his wife, my grandmother, a great lady from Cork, put her foot down, and so I was legally adopted, and raised, by my natural grandparents in Dublin. I didn’t find out about this until I was 14... and, ever since, I have been dying to find you, to know you, to know the other half of my story. Oh, most people can’t understand this. They say that you don’t miss what you have never known. But that is so not true. Most people know where they come from... and, I guess, take it for granted. But when you don’t know, it’s like this big gap in your life... half of my story is missing.
Throughout my life I have wondered about the traits that definitely don’t come from my “known” family. My great energy, lust for life, love of travel, resilience and resourcefulness. I often wonder, Dad, were you very fit and sporty? Did you travel? Did you have that same curiosity? Did you get married and have more children? Do I look like you? Do I have brothers and sisters who I will also never know? Recently, I thought that I might get my DNA on record, on the off-chance that you or even a sibling might show up. I did find many third and fourth cousins, and futilely sent out some emails asking if they might be able to help me locate my needle in a world-sized haystack.
Or maybe you never had any other children? If not, I am still here, waiting. You have two beautiful grand-daughters, now in their 30s. They’d love to know you too. The eldest has two boys, a nine-year-old and a lovely little 20-monthold. I think you’d be proud of us. We all live near Galway.
As a last resort, I am thinking of hiring a genealogy specialist or a private detective. It would be expensive, but if I found you it would be the best money I could spend. What do you think, Dad? Should I? Would you? Toni Email address with Editor