Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Breaking Free of Guilt
Submitted by Marie ( a member of Belleview Community Church in Nashville)

When I was 10 years old, my father, who was the light of our family, not to mention everyone who knew him, died suddenly. My mother immediately became a sullen, angry, and withdrawn person. There were 7 kids in our family and 4 of us were still at home. Our life became hard and like most girls who have no active father in their lives whether they are alive or not, I sought "approval" elsewhere. At 17 I became pregnant and as soon as my mother found out, she sent me to a home for unwed mothers. Since I had just graduated from high school and had no job and basically no control of my life yet, I had to go. Being raised a Catholic, I found out later, wasn't the reason for the immense guilt I felt. It turns out that most girls in that situation, no matter their religion, feel an enormous amount of guilt. After the baby was born and I had to put her up for adoption, I came back home. It was NEVER mentioned again.Several years later I got married and had 2 more children. I found out that I was a pretty terrific mother, if I do say so myself. My kids grew up to be confident, friendly, very smart, funny and caring people, even though their father, who died 3 years ago, was a complete and total alcoholic. Which is what actually took his life. I had not told them about the adoption because I feared their respect for me would be gone.When I found myself being the super mom that I had become, the guilt of having given my first baby up for adoption got much worse. I worried that if she ever found me, she would resent me for giving her away. What if she was in a bad family situation? What if, what if, what if? It was a very strong guilt that I could do nothing about. Until one day, 2 years ago, my brother received a phone call from a man who asked about me. He took a number and gave it to me. I immediately knew what it was about so I decided that it was time to tell my kids. My son was already married and my daughter was in college. When I told them they all started crying and asked if they were going to get to meet her. Their response was nothing like I has imagined. They were so sweet, understanding and loving towards me, it completely amazed me.So I called the man back, who turned out to be her husband. The first thing he said to me was, "Before you say anything, I need to tell you something. Because of what you did, I have a perfect life. We met in high school and have been married for 11 years. We have 4 beautiful children and she is my best friend. She is the kindest, most wonderful person I have ever known." He went on to tell me that she had been raised by 2 very loving parents and that she had found out her adoption information because of being urged by him and her mother. However, she didn't want to pursue it in case I had a family who didn't know and she didn't want to cause my family any problems.After I composed myself, I called her and we talked for hours. She and her husband and their children came to Nashville a few months later and 2 times since. I went to visit them this summer. Her mother and father have invited me to their house for dinner and they have become like family. They sent me cards and flowers and thanked me more times than I can count. As have her friends, her husbands parents, and almost everyone in their lives. "Thank you" was never a phrase I thought I would ever hear when it came to this situation.My other 2 children and daughter-in-law have welcomed her, her husband and their kids into their lives and hearts like I would have never expected. They call and e-mail each other, ask each other's advice and opinions and are very excited to buy Christmas and birthday presents for their new sister, brother-in-law and nieces and nephew.They are truly wonderful people. They minister to others in need. They go to people's homes and pray with them when there has been a tragedy in their lives. They go to prisons and minister to them. They talk to people about marriage and what it takes to have and maintain a good, healthy one. They are truly some of the best people I have ever known in my life.I know that if I had tried to raise her in the situation I was in at the time, her life would not have turned out as it has and because of her true spiritual self, she has allowed me to rid myself of the guilt I have felt all these years. I thank her and thank God for this tremendous gift.

5 comments:

Trace said...

Do you know this person, or did you read this online? It sounds like a fairytale story...I would love to know that it truly happened. Ya know?

Tishslp said...

P, what an uplifting story!

petunia said...

Trace, this is a lady that goes to my friend's church.

LeRoy Dissing said...

A very touching and moving story. Thanks P for sharing.

tubelessstl said...

Ok, that sure put some tears in my eyes. What a wonderful story.