Always have a way of coming out. Family secrets can destroy lives and cause people to feel lost, out of place, scared, lonely, and devastated. As I was growing up, I was living in the midst of a family secret no one thought was important enough to tell me until I was the age of 42. I found out the truth on April 3, 2016. I lived a lie for 42 years, or rather I should say my mother’s lie. Other family members knew, hell probably every damn one of them, one of which took the damned secret to their grave. Here is that story.
The man I called Daddy passed away in March of 2016. He was my step-father but I always considered him to be my father, never had any feelings of him being a step-parent. He was just Daddy. He made sure everyone knew I was his DAUGHTER and never referred to me once as his step-daughter. He treated me no different than any of his other children. While I was in Michigan for services, I went to visit my aunt, who is my mother’s sister and my mother’s only living sibling. My mother had another sister and a brother, both of which are deceased. My only living aunt told me the family secret. Something I never expected to hear.
That family secret was the man who I thought was my biological father, was not. My brother and I had different fathers. My other aunt, who was deceased, most likely from a morphine OD (no autopsy done), knew the secret and as close as we were, she STILL kept the truth from me. Before my mother died in November 2005, she had promised my mother she would always look after me and protect me. At one point, while my aunt and I were at my best friend’s home playing cards, she told my best friend, “I have a secret that “Valora” can never know about.” Seriously? Why the hell would someone do that? Man, my family is just too fucked up. I mean you have no idea.
My living aunt told me my mother would only tell her my brother’s father was not the same as mine. She would not tell her the man’s name. And apparently at the time my mother became pregnant with me she was a prostitute and may not have even known the name of my father herself. However, my deceased aunt told her she knew my father’s name. I laughed so hard when my aunt told me that man was not my father. I felt joy and elation to know the man my mother married was not my father because I hated being the daughter of a murderer. Yes, that is right, a murderer, at least according to my mother. With the shit I have learned I don’t know what is actually true and there is no one alive that can corroborate or deny anything. I have no parents, no grandparents, and only one living aunt who told me everything she knew.
When I was 16, my mother told me she met my brother’s father while he was in prison for murdering a woman in a bar fight. She had also eventually confessed to me she got pregnant with me during a conjugal visit with him. She admitted that detail only after I confronted her after I had a memory at age 16 after viewing some pictures she had. The pictures were of her and that man, my brother’s father, getting married. She was in a wedding dress, he was in a blue suit, and I was wearing a red dress holding a bouquet of flowers and my hair was pulled up and in curls. She lied to me growing up, telling me she was married BEFORE she got pregnant with me. Honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered to me if she was married or not. Just be HONEST. Why be so fucking deceitful? She had the perfect opportunity to tell the damn truth right then about my paternity but she chose to cover one lie with another lie.
When the man who was told to me to be my father died in June 1992, my mother STILL refused to be honest. That woman didn’t have an honest bone in her body. I was visiting with him the prior two summers. I was making plans to leave Florida and move to Boston, to live with the man I thought was my father and I wanted to give birth to my son in Boston, where I was born. I hated living with my mother, she was an abusive drunk who never missed an opportunity to belittle me or embarrass me. I honestly believe she truly hated me and took pleasure in hurting me physically and mentally. The man I thought was my father was happy to be having his first grandchild. He never told me the truth either, and had he had the opportunity to be honest multiple times, but he must have thought of me as his daughter. After all, apparently the name I have now is named after his sister, my aunt. NO ONE ever thought it important enough for me to know my paternity. My brother was always treated slightly better than I was with his father and family, but that never bothered me and never thought anything of it. See, I had my grandfather and great-grandmother who put on a pedestal. Who I was their absolute princess. I got everything I could have ever wanted. They spoiled me, and treated my brother terribly, which I never liked and did tell my mother about the way they treated my brother so badly after a summer spent with them in Norwood, Massachusetts when were 12 and 9, I am older.
People always have the presumption that I can’t tell a child the truth because they need to be protected. Well what the fuck? Like I would never find out? Like people never find out family secrets? Finding out in the way I found out just made me so bloody ANGRY, like beyond angry, with my dead mother. I thought even in death this damn cunt still found a way to hurt me. I thought I am never, ever going to be free from this woman, dead or not. As I discovered more and more of her behaviors, I have developed an extreme hatred and anger for the woman.
Now, at 47 years old, I have no idea where the other half of me comes from. I only know my mother’s father’s side of the family. The name I have to live with is not the name I was born with, and I HATE MY NAME. Who the fuck am I? I really would love to have an answer to that. I still have not had the nerve to try an ancestry DNA test. What will happen if I find other family members on my biological father’s side? Will they accept or reject me? But honestly, I have not had much of a desire to even find out. I had a father for almost 40 years, and I am OKAY with that, I can live with that.
So now with my own family, I have NO secrets to hide from my children or other family members. NOT ONE. My children all know who their fathers are, they know I’ve done drugs and what drugs I’ve done, they know I was sexually abused, they lived in the midst of domestic violence committed against me, they know everything. I love my children to the moon and back and have so much respect for them to tell them the truth. They deserve every bit of the truth no matter what. By me being truthful with them, they have given me the respect and love I deserve. We are a dysfunctional family, but dysfunctional together. And above all, we are HONEST with each other.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”-Marie Curie