All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible. –George Santayana
I am used to being on the outside looking in. It’s not a new feeling. What was new to me was the openness of a complete stranger that happened to share enough
mitochondrial autosomal DNA with me to be my biological father.
When I received the results from 23andMe indicating that my biological father was a fellow client, I was stunned. I knew that it was likely that my biological father didn’t even know I existed. I also knew nothing about him. I didn’t know if he had a family–whether or not I had siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces or nephews. I didn’t know how I would be received. Would he ignore me? Would he even respond to my message? Would he deny our relationship (unlikely, I thought, with the DNA being what it was).
I was surprised at his initial response. He was certainly open and willing to communicate via e-mail. He eventually even suggested several times that we try to Skype so that we could talk “in person.” We exchanged photos. We “friended” each other on Facebook, allowing each other an insight into each other’s “virtual” lives and photos of family and friends. He was eager to “show me” his art studio and the museum via video. I was so happy to be allowed into his world.
He was confused about the DNA match, however, and wondered whether there could be a mistake. He had (and still has) no memory of Margaret. In his mind, he had never met her, let alone had sex with her. I gave him every spec of information I had– all the details about my “story.” I even gave him copies of the photos I had of Margaret, hoping that the images would help him remember.
He talked to old friends and looked at old yearbooks and photos . . . still nothing in his memory connected him to Margaret. In the meanwhile we exchanged e-mails. We talked about everything–cooking (he loves to experiment with exotic ingredients), his art (handmade gold and silver jewelry and masks, etc.), his daughter and grand daughter, my boys and husband and his love and fascination with antique radios. I was excited about his jewelry and told him about Etsy and suggested he could try to sell some of his jewelry and art on-line. Guess what? He now has an Etsy store!
I think he knows in his heart that I am his daughter. So I’m sure you can understand my confusion now. Our communication has stopped. Completely. For some reason, I’ve been shut down. The last meaningful message I received from him was before Thanksgiving. I told him of my plans to travel to Texas to visit a nephew and his family. I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving and asked whether he had any big plans with family. I didn’t hear from him before Thanksgiving, but I assumed that he was busy with work and getting ready for the holiday. I e-mailed when I returned from Texas. No response. Finally, before Christmas, I sent a simple message telling him I was worried (he’s 70 years old and although his health is good, I could not fathom why I wasn’t hearing from him) and to please just let me know he’s well. I also apologized for feeling a little paranoid about our “relationship,” I was worried that I had somehow offended him or scared him off. I didn’t want to be an intrusion.
I got a short e-mail from him with no real explanation–just that he’s been busy and that all is well. That’s it. Nothing else. I e-mailed him before the New Year and told him I hoped he had a nice Christmas and Happy New Year. No response.
I have a hunch that maybe he saw his daughter, who is 37, over the holidays and perhaps he shared our correspondence with her. I don’t know–maybe she was shocked at his openness with me. She got protective. Maybe jealous. She has no idea who I am. Who is this person claiming to be a daughter–just appearing out of thin air? She could be scamming you! What does she want from you? He had written to me about some pretty intimate details about his past. Perhaps his daughter felt violated somehow.
I’m disappointed. And sad. Really sad. Don’t get me wrong . . . I know I have many wonderful friends and family in my life that know me and love me. I appreciate all of you! It’s difficult to explain. It’s a familiar feeling, but I honestly did not think I would feel this way again.
I am not sure of my next move. I never made it to the library in Santa Barbara. They never responded to my e-mail, but I still plan on trying to get information and details about Margaret’s arrest when I can get up there again. But I think my next move will be to send a letter to my sister–Jackson’s daughter. I should introduce myself.
Sorry 😦 I hope he and his daughter come around soon.
Thank you, Helen! Hope all is well with you.
Do you have a email address that you share so I can send you an email?
Sorry things are rough. By the way, your 23andMe match is based on autosomal DNA not mitochondrial DNA. And mitochondrial DNA comes from your mother and not your father.
Thanks, Richard. I know that–just had a “too-many-big-scientific-words” moment. 😉
I think extending yourself to his daughter is smart. I think you might find some answers. Good luck. Big hugs!
People can be so hard to understand, especially when they’re silent. I hope your half-sister welcomes you. I’m still leaving my half-siblings alone for a while, maybe forever. I know the most important parts of what I wanted to know.
Thank you, David. I may be in the same boat as you soon enough. 😉
Laureen, your story continues to break my heart, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. You do have a good sensor, I’m sure the daughter, your half-sister really, would be suspicious, especially given the fact that he has zero recollection of Margaret (the Devil).
Sending you hugs and good thoughts.
Lynn, thank you so much for your thoughtful words. *hug back*