Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mother's Love

They say truth is stranger than fiction. If I wrote the novel of my life, no one would believe it.

About ten years ago, I had a letter out of the blue from two sisters which threw me into emotional turmoil. They had discovered from my mum that I existed and were desperate to let me know they cared and wanted to keep in touch. They went to extraordinary lengths to track me down.

However for me, pursuing contact with them meant considering a relationship with my mum and, at the time, Nan was still alive and it didn’t feel right. I didn’t bear my mum any malice. I knew she must have had her reasons for giving me up, but I had my own family and didn’t want my happy, secure life unsettled. Eventually I decided it was best not to open any ‘cans of worms’ and chose to leave the door on the past firmly closed, and turned my back on them all.

Nan brought me up from the age of two as neither my mum nor dad wanted me. Or that was what I was led to believe for forty years anyway. It wasn’t until Nan died eight years later and I saw my dad for the first time since I was a teenager, that I discovered things were not quite as I’d thought…
Mum gave me up because they’d split up and she was very young, and couldn’t cope. She thought I’d have a better life with Nan. And something else I didn’t know was that a couple of years later, when my mum wanted me back, a big custody battle started which made Kramer versus Kramer look like a walk in the park! Both my mum and her new partner, my dad and his new wife all went to court to fight for custody. In the end Nan won and legally adopted me. After that, she stopped my mum's visits as she thought it unsettled me. A few years later, Nan told my Dad I didn’t want anything to do with him, and that we were moving away to Leeds.

Hearing these revelations from my dad were devastating. All those wasted years. All that time of thinking my parents didn’t want me. But it was my sisters I couldn’t stop thinking about...

I'd always known about them. When I was about nine years old I remember visiting my other Nanny and Granddad and my mum being there with a toddler and a baby in a carry-cot. She hugged me to her and cried and cried, and I wondered why she had given me away yet she’d had two more daughters.

My sisters were innocents in it all too. I dug out their letters which I’d kept from all those years ago and found their children’s names and my sisters married names, and I started to imagine what they were like and if only I could see them through a one-sided mirror, like in a police station. After about a year of obsessing about them, I decided to try and look them up.

Oh, the power of social networks. It didn’t take long to find them on Friends Re-united and Facebook. Then my best friend persuaded me to send them a message. A couple of hours later, their simple two line response came back. They were so pleased to hear from me and would LOVE to keep in touch. Within two weeks of being FB friends we spoke on the phone and less than a couple of months later, they travelled to South Shropshire to visit just a couple of weeks after I had major surgery.
Having met the girls, I wanted to contact my mum and ask her some questions. We only wrote one letter each before we spoke on the phone. A couple of months later, I met her for the first time. We laughed. We cried. Mostly she kept hugging and kissing me, unable to believe we'd found each other again.

That was last February; just over a year ago. Since then, mum and my sisters have been over to stay. I’ve been back to Hull (where I originated from) to see them and met their families. We speak every week and text each other most days.

When I discovered my ex’s second affair last June, they gave me unbelievable strength and support. His first affair, seven years ago nearly destroyed me emotionally and some of the decisions I made then to stay with him then were based on all my old insecurities. Pain and knocks to my self-esteem were preferable to rejection; my Achilles heel. But second time around, the old demons are gone and now, as well as having the best friends in the world, I have a mum and my sisters (as well as my dad, and a half-brother and sister and their families.)

I consider myself truly blessed and know I’ll never feel loneliness again. Part of me regrets that I missed out so many years of having them in my life but hey, it’s funny how things work out, isn’t it? Our relationship is natural. It feels as if we were never apart. Perhaps having children of my own helped me understand why mum made some of the decisions she did and understand how difficult it must have been for her. It’s taken a couple of years to come to terms with Nan’s actions too, but I've forgiven her. I owe Nan everything and had so much love and attention, I never felt disadvantaged for not having a mum or dad. Life would have been so very different had she not taken me in and adopted me as children’s homes in the 60’s or 70’s were not the best of places. Nan simply protected me, (and herself, of course.)

My sisters tell me mum has changed over the last year or so too. She is happy and carefree. Her eyes smile when she laughs these days because she’s free of the burden she carried for all those years, overjoyed to have me and my boys in her life again. Her family is complete.

There is nothing like a mother’s Love, and my Nan’s. How lucky I am to have had both.

Happy Mother’s Day to them, and to mother’s everywhere.

Until another day
xxx

33 comments:

Sarah Pearson said...

This post struck a real chord with me - I've been in a similar situation of discovering brothers and sisters as an adult. I'm so glad you were brave enough to try again and that it worked out for you.

Rob-bear said...

Wow! All pretty exciting. And a chance to rediscover family! Not everyone has that opportunity.

Sounds like this has been a good turn for you. And I hope you keep enjoying the new relationships.

Anita Chapman said...

I loved this post Debbie.
I'm so happy for you-that you've been reunited and that you all get on so well. Lots of love.X

Frances said...

Happy Mother's Day to you, Debbie. Your happiness at these reunions and their staying powers is so clear.

xo

Momcat said...

What a lovely ending to your story, that you've all found one another again. The tragedy in all of this is the total loss of a relationship between your mom and her mom. So sad to give birth and bring up a daughter and then due to circumstances and decision, to lose that child totally! I hope all of you learn from the tragedy of the past to never let pride or anger separate all of you. Sorry is a small word but it mends a lot of fences.

liz fenwick said...

Beautiful.
lx

Colette McCormick said...

I love a happy ending.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I found that so touching, Debbie, and I'm so pleased you are all in touch again. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Shazza said...

What a poignant thing to read on Mothers Day! Well done deb xx

Laura E. James said...

You write with such honesty, Debbie. Much respect to you. Laura xx

Jenny Beattie said...

Wow; what an amazing story. I'm so glad to hear how things have worked out for you.

elizabethm said...

I am so glad you have found your family again. You sound so secure in yourself. I admire too the way you manage not to blame your nan for what she did. Happy Mothers' Day Debbie, to you and to your mother.

Chris Stovell said...

Very emotional post, Debbie. I'm so glad you've got your loved ones round you.

Jan Brigden said...

Debbie, I had a tear in my eye reading your post. So moving, and written straight from the heart. So pleased that you've been reunited with your family. Lots of love to you x x

Bish Denham said...

Oh! How wonderful to have found a second family! I'm SO happy for you.
And that you found them during a time of need, makes it doubly special.

Blessings on you all.

Caroline said...

Wow that was amazing Debbie. Thanks for sharing your story. Caroline x

Talli Roland said...

Oh, wow. I can just see the love shining from your mum in that last photo. What a wonderful story of a family reunited.

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh my gosh...I have a lump in my throat from reading this. So well-written and so beautiful. I'm so glad you reconnected with your sisters and your mother - such a blessing for you all!

Jolene Perry said...

Ack! you totally made me cry. Amazing story.

Kate Hardy said...

Debbie, that was SO moving. And how lovely that there's a happy ending, too. Bless you xxx

Twiglet said...

A great post. How lucky for you to be able to get together - now look forward not back and enjoy every minute of love and friendship. x Jo

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You have a great story. I think it could make a lovely book.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

What a heart warming story! You are so lucky to have so many people love you so much... Hope it all goes well for you all in the future. Best of luck!

Carol said...

I read that with a big lump in my throat. I'm so glad that you all found each other after so long and that old hurts were healed.

I wish you and your lovely family many more years of happiness.

C x

Flowerpot said...

What an incredible story - and I am so glad it turned out ot have a happy ending! x

Suburbia said...

That's an amazing story, so glad for you that it has a happy ending.

9found you at Carols)

clarbojahn said...

We have a different date for mothers day here in the States being May 14 but after this story any day would be mothers day that had a reunion like this in it. Congrats to you and your whole family. So happy for you.

Anita Mathias said...

Amazing--two new families as an adult. There is sadness in not having those relationships earlier, of course, but everything conspired in making you who you are--and how rich now to have 2 extended birth families, as well as your own children.
I hope you get over writers' block soon. Blogging helped me. I committed to blog every day until writing became easy and second nature!!

The mum of all trades said...

Oh my goodness, what an amazing story. I'm so glad to read you have all these new people in your life that enrich it.

Glynis said...

What a tender story. Thanks for sharing.

Norma Murray said...

Debbie, I've been catching up on blogs I missed - this is so moving - what a life you've led. I am so pleased you've found your family again. You deserve it.

Johanna Leahy Marstrand said...

Debbie, I'm unbelievably late to this but just wanted to add my delight at your wonderful, heart-warming story. I'm so glad you have had the opportunity to reunite with your mother and sisters and that you now get to share each others lives. Well written as alway.xx

Yasminselena said...

I am so late to this amazing post but you are so right, Debbie, what an incredible story. I am so glad you got back in touch with your mum and sisters again. You must have run through a serious gauntlet of emotions.. x x