ONE DAY - ONE STEP
I was home alone when I read it. It was heart wrenching. She had handwritten it in VERY dramatic detail.
At 39, I was facing the early warning signs of "empty nest." With our oldest son in his first year of college, our second son finishing High School, the high stress of moving into a management position on my job, being the wife of the Pastor of a growing church, and facing my 40th birthday. An exciting journey was on the horizon. We were getting our passports and paying a deposit on our first missionary trip.
Having to have an original birth certificate from the county where I was born, I made application and finally received the document in the mail. A quick glance confirmed it was me, but a second look puzzled me. I tucked that question deep down with all the others I had collected through the years.
At first I didn't say anything, filed it away with other important papers for the missions trip and proceeded to worry about other details for several days.
In the midst of all this planning, we received a phone call that my grandfather had fallen, broken his hip, developed pneumonia and probably wouldn't recuperate. This started a whirlwind of activity. We had been stripping the wood floors of years of dirt and grime in our home - literally - everything was moved out of the rooms into the halls, so we could use the sander on the wood floors. Sawdust was all over everything. My parents were heading to town to sit with Grandpa, and to plan the inevitable funeral. Our visits would not be at our home. The evening Grandpa died, we had visited the hospital one more time, and I remembered my birth certificate question - courage rose up, and inquired.
After keeping it with other legal papers for days, I had decided to pull it and have Russ look at it. He noticed immediately, also. He had a good friend, who was a detective. So, we arranged for him to do some investigating. Human fingerprints are relatively impossible to determine at birth, so hospitals use the baby's footprints. My left footprint when I was born, and my left footprint when I was released from the hospital did not match on this certificate. I truly felt I was in the middle of a conspiracy drama. The questions that arose were unbearable. It verified every sick feeling I had had all my life.
I was convinced.
I was switched at birth. Having my parents in town for Grandpa's funeral gave me the opportunity and the courage to confirm the feelings I had always had.
Based on these repetitive occurrences in my childhood home:
I confronted my Mom with the legal piece of paper. She went back home.
The funeral was over, we finished our floors, we had a disappointing cancellation of our missions trip, and, I was back to a normal day's routine at work, when I got the letter.
I was home alone when I read it. It was heart wrenching. She had handwritten it in VERY dramatic detail. My mom jumped right into the 39 year trauma.
It was a 3 page letter that confirmed every fear I had had for 39 years. The deep emotional pain of never knowing, and the sick-sick feeling that my real family and I had to connect.
I was undone, incomplete, lost and scared.
When Russ came home, I showed him the letter. He was kind and caring, but realistic and a bit sarcastic!! He told me that he was concerned that my mom had maybe had a breakdown or wasn't living reality because I looked just like her. Oh, my word. He brought humor to painful situations with ease.
After phone calls to my sisters, who basically said the same thing as Russ, and a call from my Dad who offered to help me find my birth records and said, "I know I'm the Dad, we just don't know who the mother is!" We all had a few good laughs and I burned the letter, and basically stopped talking to my mother. Receiving a letter like this, is an ultimate rejection and abandonment, but it only confirmed all of the emotions I experienced and sensed growing up in her home. I wasn't hers, she was always looking for another, I was an interruption to her life, and a distraction she couldn't resolve.