Category: The Family

Finally Found

After a few DNA tests, many weeks of waiting, and more lost nights of sleep than I care to count, my biological father has been found. It’s been about a year since I found out who I thought was my father was in fact not, so, it’s been a long emotional year of ups and downs. And you’d think I’d be ecstatic finally knowing, finally being accepted, and finally having a father, but I haven’t felt that way since finding out.

Maybe it’s all that’s going on in the world right now (COVID-19), generally being depressed the last few months, and feeling pretty lonely have clouded what would otherwise be joy at the fact that I found him. Now my thoughts are filled with the idea that it’s too late, I’m 48. Maybe his family won’t accept me; I may never even meet his family for all I know. They are far more important to me than I am to them I’m sure. I don’t say that to be negative, it’s just a truth.

I don’t know what to do from here; I’m kind of lost. I don’t want to intrude on anyones’ lives, but I would love to know my father’s side of the family.

Another DNA Test

Thankfully I got a phone call (see previous post) and it went pleasantly and surprisingly well. He will be doing a DNA test just to confirm, but based on the DNA results we have so far we’re pretty certain he’s the one; man, I hope he is! Talk about polar opposite to almost every “father” type person in my life, the exception being my grandfather, but the rest fell short in so many way. I’m not saying the one I found, who I think is actually the “baby daddy”, isn’t flawed, we all are, but he at least made an effort to speak to me. He didn’t run away, make excuses, express doubt, etc.

He asked me when I was born, the beginning of March 1972, and we did the math and I would have been conceived the summer of 1971. He seemed to think that time line was pretty accurate and it could be possible he might be the one. Now we just need to wait for the DNA results. I don’t have any predictions, I’ve learned my lesson on that one. We’ll wait and see and if he is, thank God I found him, if he’s not, then my search continues.

I’m thankful he chose to pick up the phone and call me.

Maybe it’s too soon to say…

I feel like the heartbreak is already starting to settle in. I thought I was prepared for all the possible outcomes, but now I can’t say that I am. It’s been almost a year now that I’ve know that the man I thought fathered me, did not. Honestly, it wasn’t a huge upset, before the DNA results he had little to nothing to do with me. Being abandon and fatherless is something I’d become use to so, finding out he wasn’t the one shouldn’t have hurt so much, but it did, more than I thought it would. A second DNA test to see if another might be the one was fruitless as well, and equally as hurtful. I felt like I was careening toward not just metaphorically being fatherless, but to the idea of that becoming quite literal.

Being fatherless isn’t something very unique, there are millions who don’t know who one of their parents is. I thought I knew though, for 47 years I thought I knew. And even though I had nothing to do with it I felt a sense of responsibility for not knowing. There was no big lie or deception on anyone’s part it was simply a mistake, a lack of knowledge, young people not knowing what they were doing, and what the consequences might be. In this case the consequences were the creation of a human being, me.

Maybe the sense of responsibility came from the abandonment I’d felt my whole life. Almost every significant man in my life had abandon me in some way or another. Either it be physical or emotional it feels the same. When so many come and go you must ask yourself, is it me? Of course, as a grown woman, I know it’s not me, it was them. It was their lack of ability to commit to a little girl who needed a father. And maybe that’s why, when I received the postcard confirming the certified letter I sent the one I’m sure it is came in the mail yesterday, a sense of dread came over me. What if he rejects me too?

What a shock it must have been for him to receive it. Surprise it’s a girl…you didn’t even know you had; with a girl you may not remember. Maybe it’s too soon to say how he’ll respond. The ball is in his court now and all I can do is wait. But I can’t help but feel like the longer I wait the less he wants to know me and that’s a terrifying thought, being truly fatherless is a terrifying thought. To be rejected on a parental level is a special kind of pain that doesn’t go away easily.

But like I said, maybe it’s too soon to say…he needs some time to digest it all and then maybe he’ll pick up the phone. I can only hope!

It’s Official…

…I’ve had ENOUGH!

Holding it together these days hasn’t been easy, and I’ve cracked a few times, maybe a few too many.

Medically speaking I’m doing OK. I’m almost 10 months post heart transplant and the doctors still haven’t been able to fine tune my medication so that I’m not always adding or removing something I take daily. Some of it makes me sick, some of it makes me feel weak, and the big one makes me feel exhausted for no reason at all. I know my body is strong; how could it not be? I have Primary Amyloidosis (AL), which by the way, has a 6 to 12 month mortality rate, I’ve survived over four years. I had a heart transplant because the AL put me in acute congestive heart failure and caused a lovely case of restrictive cardiomyopathy. Now I’m told I have Osteoporosis in my lumbar 1 – 4 and am close to having it in my hips as well. All that is a result of the chemo therapy I received for the AL and the anti-rejection drugs I take for my heart.  I’ve been hitting the gym for several weeks now. Not knowing at the time I started about the Osteoporosis, it was a good thing I did. The most effective treatment for it is weight training, which is what I’ve been focusing on to build up the strength I lost while I was sick. But my back and hips hurt and although weight training is ideal, not necessarily at the pace I’m going at. I can’t win with this body of mine.

Then there’s the food. The trainer at the gym wants me to eat a certain way, which I’m totally willing to do within the parameters of what I can and can’t eat being a transplant patient. In reality it’s not that different than how I was eating before the transplant. However, my stress level is so high I can’t eat, and not eating is just as bad as eating too much. How do I get the calories I need in a day without throwing it all up because I’m so stressed out my stomach is in knots? I’m trying, but there isn’t a week that goes by that more stress isn’t placed on my shoulders by someone.

There’s also a family component to all this. Issues far too complex for me to even begin to figure out, and I’m not 100% sure I want to. I have two married sons, one of which doesn’t have much to do with us and his wife even less. The other and his wife live with us, which creates it’s own set of issues that I can’t address because it’s causes me even more stress than I can handle. I have a mother who I’m afraid of and I couldn’t tell you why, other than I hate the sound of disappointment in her voice when I can’t do what she wants me to. I still have no idea who my biological father is, which causes me more hurt than my mother can imagine. But I keep the peace because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do? I don’t know?

I left the church I’ve been a member of for over 10 years. That’s been a gut punch to say the least. I think what hurts more than anything is they either haven’t noticed or don’t care; either one isn’t great. I’ve tried to get past it and attend church, but I can’t get out of my mind how little they did when I needed them the most. I’ve gotten a handful of phone calls in the last five years, but no significant support for my “church family.” Now I’m torn about finding a new church because I don’t want to be hurt like that again. I surrendered myself to God in that church and the keepers of the church were not very good stewards of my vulnerability. How could I go back to that, and how do I try a new church not knowing if they will do the same thing?

School is starting in about two weeks and I go back and forth over whether or not I can handle it. Some days I feel confident that I can do it and others I think it could be a huge waste of time and money. I’m 47 years old getting a degree in dance! What was I thinking? I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up, but I’ll never know unless I try. The fear in me wants to stop before I get started, but then I’ll always wonder if I could have made it.

Every way you slice it I have stress coming from all directions. Some of it I may have control over but some of it I never asked for, but have to deal with it none the less. I lose sleep at night thinking about all of the things I should have done or didn’t, or should do, but don’t feel confident enough to stand my ground. On the surface I may appear strong, and my body may be, but my emotional state is not. I wish I had the emotional confidence to tell the people in my life what I need to tell them and not have their reactions affect me so deeply. And, of course, the ultimate fear is that they will all stop coming around all together and I’ll be physically alone and emotionally alone at the same time.

Enough

I can’t be responsible for other people’s feelings. All I can do is treat the people around me with dignity and respect and not take it personal if they react in a negative way. I’m not the family counselor, mediator, referee, or general go between. I need the people in my life to start acting more like the adults they are and stop relying on me to help save the day, calm things down, or motivate. I’m not oppose to helping, that’s just in my nature. However, I expect people to learn how to do things themselves after awhile and that’s not happening. I know it’s me; I’m allowing it. The challenge is figuring out where the teaching stops and the enabling starts.

There’s a lot on my plate, more than the people around me know. Not that I have kept them in the dark on purpose, but because it’s just a continuation of me being sick for so long. Yes, my Amyloidosis is in remission, and I had a heart transplant that will extend my life, but I’ve really traded one set of problems for another. Before, I was just trying to survive and keep my heart beating a little bit longer. Now, I have to survive the anti-rejection drugs that have awful side effects, not to mention the handful of other medications I take for various things that still aren’t working like they should be, post-transplant.

I’m not myself yet; I’m carrying a sadness that I haven’t been able to shake. I’m frustrated that my house doesn’t feel like home right now. I’m irritated that some of the people around me aren’t doing their part to be full participants in our family and household. I hate feeling like I always have to be the bad guy to get things done. I’m tired of attitude, entitlement, laziness, and most of all feeling like I’m being taken advantage of. I want to live my life with joy, love and gratitude, but I’m finding it hard to keep focused on that when I feel like the energy around me is trying to derail me.

So, ENOUGH already! It’s time to change my approach, I can’t change the people in my life but I can change me. Not sure where to start but I’ll figure it out…