April 25, 2007

keys

My dad's childhood was pretty much a mystery to me, as was much of his life, and when he died, it was like I was handed a key to the first of many doors. Right after he died, I opened each door and quickly ran to the next one, beating on it until I could get it open. With patience, you can find a key that will unlock the next door. But I had wanted to know for so long, there was no patience left. So, I burst through as many doors as I could and figured the rest would just be left locked. Forever locked.

Then, for those of you who have been reading here a while, you know my father's last known living relative, his brother, called about a year or so ago and was in the hospital. Through the cryptic blog entries, you may have deciphered that I visited him often. The first day I went to see him, the first time I'd seen him since I was a really little girl, the tone of his skin brought tears to my eyes. You see, my dad and his brother were half American and half Chinese. There is no easy way to describe their skin color, but it is unique. And the last time I had seen that skin color was the last day I saw my father alive, shortly after he was released from the hospital to go home. He died before I saw him again. And to walk into another hospital and see that same skin color, well, it shook me to the core. I vowed to unlock more doors.

I've learned a lot from these two men. These two men who didn't speak the last years of my father's life. Both having lived through things children shouldn't have to and yet they chose such different ways to cope and adjust. Well, in some ways, they just didn't adjust. But that's a story for a different day. My father taught me that no matter what adversity you face, you can still be successful. But he also taught me to treasure my children - sadly, because I don't think he did. I don't think he could. My uncle has taught me to pay attention to the details of life because sometimes the details are what matter. This is funny to me because he is the most untidy man I have ever met - well, besides my father. My uncle is also the one who taught me the things I needed to find the next key.

Like the time right after my father died, once you find one key, sometimes a bunch of doors open in a row. And boy, has that been happening for me in the last few weeks. Unfortunately (and as I expected), there is so much sorrow in the stories I have learned. Such suffering and pain. I am understanding things I never have before but processing it all, well, it's just tough. I know these people don't really have anything to do with me, but they do. The puzzle pieces are falling into place and it's just this most horrible picture. My heart hurts for these people. For the circumstances and unfulfilled dreams, for the loneliness and dark clouds, for the anguish and unknown. And for the children. The poor children.

Someday I will go into all of it. Once I've been able to process things more and they don't weigh so heavy on my heart. But for today, I wanted you to know why I haven't posted. My mind is just too busy.

On a lighter note, I did locate two of my second cousins and they were able to provide me with a picture of my father's mother and his grandmother. My grandmother is the one standing in the white shirt. My great-grandmother is the one sitting in the chair. The other children are my grandmother's siblings.



3 rays through the fog:

Darlene said...

Oh My Gosh! I'm proud of you for taking the time to look into your families' history. I know you put a lot of time into it.

And even though the quote, "What we don't know won't hurt us" doesn't apply here because you have been way too courious for way too long, it may bring closure to question left unanswered for way too long.

There may be pain in some of what you learn, but at least you can find closure to a long saught after mystery of a man who thrived on being mystrious.

He would be so proud of who you have become while spinning in disbelief at your ability to find people even he didn't seek out.

Thanks for sharing the picture.

Love, Mom ox

Barb said...

I sense so much sadness here, Andrea. I also sense that you're really digging for answers and I suspect that's good, good medicine for what hurts you. You may not like some of the things you find out, but knowing has to be better than being in the dark about it.

I never question why you're not posting. I know when you're in the mood, you'll be back. It's always nice to hear from you even when your thoughts are sad.

What a treasure that photo is. I'm so glad you have this.

Cheryl said...

When we took our adoption classes the one statement they kept repeating is that you need to know where you've come from so that you can move ahead to where you need to be...

Journeys for truth are never easy but sometimes in the understanding comes the grace and peace to finally lay things to rest.

My mom died in December and I know that the greiving is not just for what was but also for their losses, their desires for their life, the things they endured, the things they missed.

Praying that you will find sanctuary for your heart and answers to your questions!
Cheryl

 
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