Your story hit home with me because my daughter has a father who has sometimes denied her (even though she looks so much like him it’s scary). He didn’t always deny her and knows very well that she’s his child. He was around the first three years of her life. We disagreed as to whether she should remain a secret. I wouldn’t allow it and he’s taken his rage at me out on her — much like your father did. My precious and innocent daughter has a right to exist and nothing to be ashamed of. She’s 35 and he’s not dead yet. It is he who needs to come to her for forgiveness. She owes him zip — and especially not silence.

I’m so impressed that your character is such that you consider your half siblings with such concern and don’t want to disturb their lives. You are a good person but you’ll never know whether the chance existed to have them in your life if you don’t contact them. You and your life are important, too. Do what feels right to you, but I hope you decide not to be the family secret. No one should feel like they’re someone’s dirty little secret. You owe no apologies for your existence and have every right to learn as much as you can about your birth father — for health reasons if nothing else. Your half siblings, if they are adults, deserve to know you exist. You don’t know how they would react and may always wonder.

I sincerely hope you don’t worry about keeping his secret for him. You do not owe him that. He’s gone and you and people who are your blood relatives have choices to make and lives to live.

You’re a wonderful writer! Thank you for sharing you poignant story.

~Carol

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.

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