Susan sat at the desk, her head in her hands. What on earth can she do now? She hadn’t told her husband. What was she thinking? Sue always picked the post up to bring to work. It was easier to sort out any problems that might arise from the correspondence whilst she was there. She often worked late and was at her desk most of the day.
The letter came out of blue; the Salvation Army had found her; she couldn’t fathom how. Her son wanted to meet her. She couldn’t face the turmoil. How was she going to tell her children that they had a stepbrother?
No this cannot happen. Sue screwed the letter up and threw it in the bin. Days went by, Sue was so busy at work and home she hadn’t even thought of the consequences of this revelation.
The last child of three was just setting off for university in three days’ time. Her life just beginning. Sue was so pleased, she felt that they had done well. Each child pursued their own course, and they were slowly getting on with their lives.
Gordon her husband was a Manager of a logistics firm. He was rarely at home, travelling around the world to secure contracts to grow the business.
Sue arrived home to find another letter without a stamp posted through the door. Her daughter was staying with friends, so there was a sigh of relief when Sue opened the letter.
I know the salvation army has contacted you about me. I have discovered where you lived. I just want to talk to you. My adopted parents know I am doing this. Please call me on this number: 07231 849225. I do not want anything just to talk. Please don’t ignore this letter.
Sue began to cry, loudly at first, then the sobs taking her breath away. It was such a trauma at the time, Sue hadn’t cried like that for years. The phone rang, it was Maggie a really good friend.
“Hi, Maggie” Sue gulped “Are you OK?”
“Right, I am coming over, something’s wrong I can tell” Maggie was not taking no for an answer “I’ll be right there”.
“And now he wants to talk” Sue had given Maggie the long sordid tale “How am I going to tell Gordon, he will never forgive me”.
“Sue, it happened when you were only 15, how could you have looked after a child then?”
Maggie gave Sue another tissue. “Your Mum and Dad were right it would have ruined your life. Look what you have done, Gordon will be alright with this I am sure”.
Sue was shaking her head; she should have spoken to him before they married. “I will have to tell him now; I cannot keep this a secret any longer”.
“Before you do anything ring the number and just talk to him” Maggie said nodding her head “That is the first step. You are going to take Elly to Uni tomorrow, so wait until you get back, when is Gordon back?”
“He come’s back on Sunday, all being well, it will feel strange being just us two in the house, me on my own most of the time” Sue had dried her tears concentrating on the now.
“It’s your 50th birthday in a couple of weeks, what have you got planned” Maggie was trying to stop Sue fretting about this latest upset, there had been many over the years and Gordon was not the easiest of men.
“There is a meal planned for that weekend, and Gordon has booked us a holiday in France” Sue stirred the tea and handed Maggie some biscuits.
Days later, Sue rang the number she had been given, her courage nearly went as the phone kept on ringing, then suddenly a breathless voice spoke up “Hello, how can I help you?”
“I …..,” Sue was suddenly speechless
“Is that you Sue” the voice said calmly “I am so pleased you called”.
“It is me; how did you find me?” Sue wanted to ask so many questions, but for now it was enough that she was speaking to James, her son of so long ago.
“I am married with two children now; my parents have been marvellous, and I just wanted to say thank you. I have heard your story and read in the files the trauma of my birth, and the distress you went through having to give me up”.
Tears started to fall; Sue was trying so hard not to remember how distraught she felt at the time. She had hidden the pregnancy from her Mum and Dad right up until the seventh month, then she began to bleed heavily, which meant she was rushed to hospital, and the baby came very quickly as she was haemorrhaging. Just remembering that time Sue shuddered. She was only young and felt ashamed of what had happened.
“It must have been very hard, I look at my two and I can’t imagine what that felt like” James continued “My life has been very good, you made the right decision, I am happy, and content and I just wanted you to know. We don’t have to meet if you don’t want to, I will leave that with you”.
Sue listened to this kind man, “I need time to think about it all James, I didn’t tell my husband you see, and I have three children as well, so you have a stepsister and two stepbrothers” Sue sighed.
“Shall we talk again, it is up to you” James was not pushing Sue, he realised this was momentous and he had said what it was he needed to say, but he would love to meet her just to satisfy his curiosity.
Sue decided to tell Gordon the next day, he arrived from New York and had the next two days at home. They were having a take-away meal tonight, and night in enjoying each other’s company.
“Gordon, I have something to tell you” Sue looked over at Gordon on the settee, he switched off the TV this sounded important. Sue told him the tale and waited for the roar of disapproval.
“Oh, Sue, I know all about that” Gordon came over to Sue pulled her up from the chair and gave her a big hug. His strong arms making Sue feel very secure. “Your Dad, the wise man that he is, pulled me to one side just weeks before we wed and told me the sorry tale” Gordon gave Sue a kiss, and sat her down with him on the settee. “He knew you wouldn’t want to talk about it again, but he thought I should know in case anything came up so I could be prepared”.
So much happened in a short amount of time. There was a great deal of discussion with Sue and Gordon’s children, lots of conversations between James and Sue. And eventually James and his family, including his Mum and Dad came for dinner one evening to meet his stepfamily as well as Sue.
There is much that happens in life, there are many twists and turns but what gets us through is the love we have for each other. We cannot change the past, we must live in the present, and look to the future. We make mistakes, we experience trauma, we laugh, and we cry but that is what life’s journey is all about. There are also perfect moments in our life we should treasure. Opportunities come out of storms that happen.
Sue got to know her son and was able to realise her actions at the time meant he had a wonderful life with good parents. There should never be any regrets, it is not worth thinking of what might have been. Live life for today, tomorrow will take care of itself.