Changed in an instant.
My preoccupation with the past seems to grow rapidly with each passing day and I have come to accept that I have an unrelenting desire to want to leave my mark on the world. My passion for writing stems from this desire to want to be heard.
Proof that I exist in this moment is etched in the DNA of my children and this may carry my bloodline forward, however, the essence of who I am can only be told in the stories and memories that I choose to share.
I am not famous nor special and I have not done anything really extraordinary in my life, but I do think that have an interesting story to tell. I believe that everyone does, it is simply a matter of how, when or if they choose to share it or not.
Verdun, Qc.- September 25th 1975, is where my story truly begins!
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I woke up like any other day. Something told me that somehow this day was going to be different and what ever that was, it wasn’t going to be good.
My entire family was in the kitchen, it was rather early in the morning and this was quite unusual because I could hear the unmistakable sound of my uncle’s voice. Even at such an early age I could tell that the grown ups were busy and did not want me to interrupt. I decided to take a shower before heading off to school.
A few minutes later, I tried to exit the bathroom but could not reach the doorknob, it just seemed so far away. It wasn’t because I couldn’t reach it really, I just did not want to. I couldn’t face the impending question that I knew I was about to ask my mom. A question I suppose, in some way that I didn’t really want the answer too, but needed to have.
Hesitation and fear took over me, I felt frozen in time, my knees buckled, my heart began to race, and I felt more alone than I have ever felt in my life.
I guess in some way, I was hoping that what I thought I had just overheard was the muffled quibble regarding some other kid that mom and dad had taken in or was about to take in. There were always kids moving in and out of this house because my parents were well respected foster parents. In my own way, I knew that it wasn’t really true, because the pain I felt in my heart afforded me that much.
September 25th, 1975 was the day my father died and I have never been the same since.
The fear of opening that bathroom door turned into panic in an instant as the sound of my mother’s voice came wailing through the wooden panels, “Madeline, are you ok in there? Open this door right now!”
I opened the bathroom door, swallowed hard and nearly stumbled on the words as they left my mouth. I began to speak, slowly and quietly at first, then suddenly and without warning, the words came pouring out like a savage hurricane not caring what obstacles lie in its path, “Mom, I overheard what you were talking about. Do not lie to me. Is it true? Is Daddy gone and was I really adopted?”
She did not have to answer, the look of fear on her face had already answered. It was not hard, even for a ten year old child to decipher that look. It was the look of “Oh my gosh, what am I going to say?” and “Oh No, I can’t believe she heard us talking about all that” all rolled up into one. I did not even give her the chance to respond, I just left the house, ran down sixth avenue toward Steinberg’s, a grocery store that used to be on the corner, and began to sob uncontrollably.
I had every intention of running to my best friends’ house. It was literally just down the street. I ran towards her doorway, was about to ring the bell when suddenly I realized I could not do it, I just went back down the stairs and started walking away.
If having just lost your Dad was not enough, for a proud Irish girl living in Verdun during the 1970′s, the idea of being adopted was more than I could handle. I felt sad, angry, ashamed, guilty and betrayed all at the same time.
All I could think of doing in that moment was to keep moving, so I started to run.
I just kept running and walking. I couldn’t go back, I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t think I would ever stop moving and perhaps in my heart, I never really have………..
Miss You Daddy!