Skeletons In My Closet

Dirty laundry time, and not a particularly "fun" entry. Skip it if you'd rather avoid drama.

First a little background: Some of you know I'm only an ersatz Canuck. I was actually born in Iowa and moved here when I was very young. Why we moved is something that's never come up, mostly because it's ugly history.

See, Dad was an idiot. When he was in his 20s he married a young nurse named Carol and had three children with her. Then he went all hormonal and stupid and abandoned them all for a newer and sexier model (my mom). Court ordered child-support followed. You know - "if you can't be available for them emotionally, the least you could do is chip in a few bucks to help raise them."

Dad did what any responsible young man would do. He skipped the country.

He took trophy-wife/mom and their new little galoot with him. Those OTHER three kids never heard from their father again.

That's why I'm a Canuck. I tell people dad was a draft-dodger because it doesn't make me burn with shame as much as the truth.

Why am I telling you this? Because I just got this e-mail tonight:

Subject: Is Your Father's Name Richard (Dick) Xxxxx? I'm Looking for my half brother.


This sounds crazy, but I'm looking for my half-brother. Was your dad's name Richard (Dick) Xxxxx? He was married (1st marriage) to my Mom--Carol Xxxxx. The last known address I have for him is Alberta, Canada. Please let me know if I'm on the right track.

Amanda Xxxxx (XXamandaXX@AOL.com)

That's me. And, OMFG, that's my sister I never met and only saw a picture of once.

I'm in shock. I've known the whole story (his side of it, anyway) since my early teens. I objectively know that his guilt isn't my own. He's the one whose brain was between his legs, after all. But for my whole life I've known that *I* was the one who had a daddy around to raise him. The other three kids (Amanda and her two brothers) were abandoned when they were old enough to know what was happening but not old enough to put the blame at his feet where it belonged.

Having never survived a plane crash I can't say for sure, but I imagine this misplaced emotion I've carried around since I first learned the truth is akin to what they call survivor's guilt. Unreasonable, sure, but very real.

I don't know if Amanda's mom, Carol, ever found a real man (defined as "one unlike my father") for a husband or if she struggled to raise three kids as a single mom in the 1960s. I don't know if they had a good step-dad for a role model or if all they learned about dads was what Richard (Dick) Xxxxx taught them.

I don't know much of anything right now except that it's several hours later and my heart's still pounding.

You know what? Being estranged from my father for a number of years, I don't even know if the word "was" in her sentence "Was your dad's name Richard" is significant. Did he finally track her down, reopen communication with her, then get hit by a truck? I dunno!

I answered the letter, of course. "Yeah, I'm the guy you're looking for. Now what?"


Oh, I know one thing. The rules plainly state:

       "Every tragedy must have a hidden element of humor in it, otherwise you'll go insane."

The hidden humor element: "Being abandoned by your father at age 7 will fuck you up so badly that, 40 years later, you will use AOL."

Okay, it's not much. But it's late and I'm in shock.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
OMG. What a shock.

I hope this is not bad news, Sean. Perhaps she is simply curious and wishes to communicate with you.

(I deleted my first comment because it was much too long and involved. I'll email it to you.)
Galoot said:"Being abandoned by your father at age 7 will fuck you up so badly that, 40 years later, you will use AOL."

LOL, I was thinking the same thing!
Sean, I think she probably just has a bunch of questions and is looking for answers. Perhaps just curious about you being her half-brother.

You shouldn't feel responsable for something you had absolutely no control over. She also had no control of what happened.. so give her a chance.

I think this is freaking you out because you have alot of resentment towards your dad that you have buried forauite awhile and you are probably not too keen on bringing those strong emotions up again. Just remember, you have done nothing wrong and you have nothing to feel ashamed about.
History is a dusty book no one reads placed high on a shelf no one can reach. You know it's there, but it's best not to bother with it.

Family, whether by birth or by mirth, is flesh, blood and love.

And extra presents at Christmas time.
I think this is a pure good thing, you don't have to go search the bad in this. She probably just heard of your existance, and wants to meet her half brother, or she knew you existed for a long time already, but only now made the decision/move she is ready to meet you, and (finally) found you.
this comment and the previous one were brought to you by xxxxxpp, who was stupid enough to post the last one anonimous...
Ok. My natural father, Dave, I didn't even know about until I was 10. I met him some time later, and found out I had two sisters, quite younger than me. The older one found me earlier this year. I couldn't believe it. Trying to reconnect with siblings is hard though, if they are hurt or jealous, but in the end, I loved seeing them again. I hope it works out well.
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