4.03.2008

Taking it to the jury

I don't much feel like discussing this so you all are going to get the extreme cliffs notes version of what I'm about to ask and say!

I have a brother and a sister. Whoah. Shocker huh. Actually I have a half brother and sister. My dad remarried a witch when I was younger and produced 2 kids. Nick and Makala. The witch basically hated me. This meant that any time I called she suddenly had a desire to vacuum right where my dad was standing, which was odd because her floors were never clean. I digress. My theory is that she married my dad, had her kids and wanted that to be her family and for him to move on from me and be only part of her new family, that or the fact that clearly my dad loved me more then he would ever love her and thus she hated me with a vicious passion and made no effort to hide it! Next.

My dad killed himself when I was twelve. I've moved on from this. I went through a million phases, and finally I've settled on saying, as a parent, I COULD NEVER NEVER DO THAT TO MY CHILD, and because he did that to me, well, I pretty much don't consider him to be any more then a sperm donor. He didn't shape who I was, he didn't make me who I am, he didn't teach me lessons, he did nothing but walk away. Next.

When he died he left behind a 3 year old daughter, and an almost one year old son. Oh and me. My brother, Nick really wouldn't remember me, and looking at Brandon and realizing he is only about 5 months younger then my sister, I can't imagine him remembering anyone today 15 years from now. My sister loved me though. Since her name was Makala and she was sometimes called Kayla she took to calling all people Mi this Mi that so I became MiShannon. This turned into calling me MyShannon later in life. We had a blast, I loved having a sister, we would go to the park and play and one of my favorite memories is her putting my step moms thong on and pulling the legs up over her shoulders and telling me it was her super hero suit. Next.

The point to all of this is, I have not seen them since the Christmas after my dad died. The witch decided that she did not want any of my dads family to be part of her family. She moved to California and cut us all off. This is where I develop a problem. My grandma spent the remainder of her life broken over losing her son and also coping with the fact that she would never get to see her grand kids again. She had their address and sent cards and money and presents and they all went unanswered.

Once, I got the witches phone number and I called her. I told her I wanted to meet them. She informed me they were not my family, we were nothing to them, they didn't need me and that she told them he got sick and died and never wanted them to know the truth. Next.

My sister is about to be 18 (or already is but I don't think so). This means, that basically at this point I can contact her no matter what the super witch says. And for a long time I thought I wanted to. But then I thought, what is the point? So. Here are my cases for and against contacting my sister and brother. I now have all of their info, know where they live, their phone number and so on.

PRO contacting family:

  • I strongly feel like someone should tell them who their dad really was, that he loved AC/DC and named his dog Angus, after the lead singer, that he loved working outside and used to put baby oil in his hair to lighten it in the summer, he loved fishing out at Pyramid lake, he loved peanut butter chocolate shakes made with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and peanut butter NOT peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, and he loved Kraft singles. They should know their dad was the kind of guy who when he was little thought school was so important he would drive his brothers and sisters to school when his mom was sick, and he was only 12. Or how he went around to the neighbor ladies and asked to do odd jobs to earn money to buy groceries for the family, and some jam for his mom to have on her bread.
  • I really feel like they deserve to know they have family out there. Who doesn't want to have more family. Think of all the presents and cards and money they missed out on when they were younger.
  • I feel like they deserve to know who they are and why they are that way. I bet they love a certain song, or a certain food and they have no idea why.
AGAINST contacting family
  • I've moved on from them. I don't miss them, I don't consider them my family, I don't know them. 18 years old and 26 years old is awfully old to force a friendship.
  • How pissed off would I be to be skating through life thinking everything was good and then BAM I find out my dad killed himself, my mom lied and I have a whole entire other life out there.
  • How angry would I be if 14 years from now someone went and shattered my sons life. I WOULD FUCKING KILL THEM. So on one hand I can really understand the mother bird instinct the witch felt when she chose to lie to them.
  • Bearing the burden of having a dad kill himself is a lot to take. I went through so many emotions, and I also realized that I would always have that mental impairment in my family. While it is always there, I don't know if it would have ever been as strong or as prevalent if I didn't know my dad killed himself, I also don't know if I would have thought about suicide as much as I did (side note, now that I have kids I will never ever ever think of that ever again, because my sons are more important then any selfish bullshit I'm dealing with in my head...end rant).
  • What is the point. We don't know each other, we don't live close, it wouldn't be like I imagined for years where I was 17 and I went and got my little sister and took her to the mall shopping. I have kids now, shes out of high school her big sister is a grown up mom who is a boring fuddy duddy.
  • I've basically removed myself from that side of the family. When my grandma died I decided to detach from that. While I stay in touch with his sister my aunt, I more consider her a great friend then a relation to that family, probably because she is a slight out cast also. Honestly, if it wouldn't be totally futile at this point, I would have my dad (stepdad whatever) adopt me so I could just get rid of the man who left me for good.
  • I wouldn't be able to not tell them about their dad. He died by his own hand, not because he was sick. He loved drugs, he couldn't be faithful, he went AWOL from the army, he didn't pay child support, he couldn't always hold a job, and he was a total mental basket case (see I have a family history, honestly that whole entire side of the family is mental, I didn't have good odds of coming out not mental.)
So. My mom feels like I should contact them. She feels like it's time for me to share the burden and weight I've felt for years. It's time for my sister and brother to know who their dad was. Because when he wasn't doing drugs and killing himself he was a pretty neat guy. He had great taste in music and was kind of fun. Like I said, I've reached a point in my life where I would be totally fine never knowing these people. However, some tell me that knowing them is the right thing to do because they are my family. I just can't justify in my mind destroying some kids lives, making these kids angry at their moms, and shattering the whole world they have always known.

Weigh in on this. Have you ever had a similar situation? Do you think I should contact them? Should I forget they exist? What are all of your opinions on this whole thing?

21 comments:

Mandy said...

Coming from someone with a TON of family drama, I think you should tell them. Even if the news isn't all sunshine they still have a right to know about it, and it's kind of jacked up that their mom hasn't told them the truth. (Wouldn't mental illness be good to know about especially if they are struggling, or may end up having kids that share your dads genes?)

Ultimately you have to do what's right for yourself though, if you think that talking to them will bring too much drama into your childrens lives that's a whole different story too.

However, I believe I would want to know EVERYTHING, not just some sugar coated gum-drop version of who my dad was if I never knew him, and I would really want to know about my additional siblings and extended family regardless of the baggage!

Patty said...

Me Too...is all I have to say about Step Brothers/Sisters.

Your pros/cons are VERY GOOD ones...I think I need to think a little to give you an honest answer...but I will.

Greg said...

I um....huh.

I have to say that when my mom and dad divorced, it hurt me bad. While my dad did not end his life, he ended it with his 2 "real" kids that were truly his. He decided to focus on his new family. I have a lot of bad (and hurt) feelings that still affect me to this day, some 21 years later.

My sister will not speak to him to this day, and I only talk to him about once every 6 months. I hate my dad(sperm donor). Like with you, he gave me nothing.

The situation you have is a tough one. What would I do? I think you make good arguments for both sides. I think that you have a hard decision to make, one that I have absolutely no idea which is the right one to do.

Mom said...

You forgot to say that I hired a private investigator to find her, I contacted her when you and Rob got married and asked if they could come. Deann ( Witch) said her daughter was 15 and a good girl and just wanted her to make it threw school so it didn’t mess her up.

I called again when you had Brandon to come and see him and she said never know and never did show up.

I called her again when you were in the hospital in your 4th month with Codi and she called back and left me a message and told me to call her on her cell phone and NOT AT HOME.

I feel that Mikayla and Nic would love to know you and should know you. Mikayla has gotten past high school or should be at the end of this year, we have honored Deann’s wishes. I don’t feel my daughter should carry this burden from her dad by her self and if you would have had someone to turn to and talk to like them in your life well maybe it would have helped you. They are missing out on a really great girl you live in Reno they live in San Jose it’s not that far.

I LOVE YOU

Mandy said...

Your mom has another excellent point, it's likely all of you could benefit a lot from knowing each other and being able to talk about your feelings surrounding your dad, and maybe it's something she's been hoping for too (the opportunity to learn more about her dad.)

But again, at the end of it you need to do what you feel is the right thing for you, your sanity, and your family.

Mom said...

The next thing she will say is that we have to wait till Nic is out of high school. Then Mikayla will be out of the house and harder to find cause we don’t know what last name she has grown up with.

You wouldn’t have to tell them about how there dad died right away. But you should get to know them there are 100 other things to talk about. There not only missing out on you but they at Aunts and Uncles and they shouldn’t miss out on Brandon and Codi.

I guess you all know I want them to know about Shannon.

Someone Being Me said...

I think 18 is old enough to find out the truth. I was 18 when my sister finally filled me in on some family secrets my Mom didn't want me to know. At that age I was old enough to accept what happened and not let that skew my perception of those involved. 15 may be a little young so maybe try talking to Kayla first then she can decide if she wants to tell your brother. I know I would want to know about my dad. I might wait to talk about the suicide part until you are sure this is something she is ready to handle.

Misguided Mommy said...

Okay. More then likely she will say that Mikayla is going into college and not to bother her. My mom makes a great point, if we wait to long the Mikayla will be gone and out of the house.

Someone being me: I don't think at any point anyone is ready to handle or hear that their dad was a selfish bastard who killed themselves.

I'm not worried about the stress or drama on my end. This family and this bullshit is something I'm immune to, but as a mom I am worried about making some little girl deal with this shit.

Sabrina said...

They deserve to know who your father was and you and your family. I would want to know. I think at the ages they are now, they can handle it.

Lisa said...

You know, even with all the bad characteristics your father had he loved you unimaginably. And I am sure he felt just as strongly about Mikayla and Nick. No one is perfect, and people make bad decisions in life. But those bad decisions shouldn’t completely overshadow the good side of someone. I couldn’t imagine life without my brothers. And even tho it is a late start on a relationship, there is still like 60 years of your life to develop that relationship. I know saying it’s a tough decision doesn’t even compare to how difficult of a decision it truly is. But I think you all deserve to have each other in your lives and they deserve to know what a great guy their dad was even if he made bad choices. And no the first conversation you have does not need to be “hey did you know dad really killed himself?”

Christy said...

Tough call. Why stir up all the drama? But then again, don't they deserve to know?

Jeninacide said...

Uhhh... OMG this is sooo tricky.

TRUE STORY: My mom's father got a woman pregnant before he met my grandma. The little girl grew up her whole life thinking another man was her father. My grandpa never tried to contact her and made my mom swear that she would never try to contact her and my mom and her family have always respected his wishes.

I know it's not really the same thing but I would be more inclined to let them come to you. Wouldn't they become curious about you and try to find you at some point? I mean, they know you're out there right?

I don't know.. this is so TRICKY. Just make sure whatever you do it is for the RIGHT reasons.

Misguided Mommy said...

Jen: Like I said, they were one and three when he died, and they never saw me again and she never mentioned me again, they actually have no clue i exist.

LauraMae said...

Perhaps they can make the choice once they know there is one.

Specifically, you can tell them the basics like, "My name is...and I am your step-sister, and I just thought you should know that I exist." You could explain that your door is always open if they ever want to get to know the other half of their family...That way you are not making the choice for them which might slightly lift the burden off your shoulders...

It's just a thought, but in the long run I know you'll have to listen to your heart.

saly said...

Bottom line----they are your blood family. There is bad blood involved, but still....

I would totally tell them, or at least make the first attempt at contacting them.

Marni Tiani Self said...

You don't really know me... but your situation rings to true to a few things in my life...

After many years of not talking to my father, we have contact again. Sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. I feel like I could have done without it, but then again, I might have always wondered. I hate to live with regret. Which would you regret more? Never trying... or not liking the results and putting yourself out there?

That's what I always ask myself.

Cheeziemommie said...

ICK family drama :( Can bring any sane person to their knees! I do have a tad bit of a similiar story.
OK First and foremost you definitely should do what is the absolute best for you and your babies.
Now, for what it's worth, I think you should contact them and at least attempt a start of a relationship with them. I think that even though you say you don't need them, you really would like to have at least some kind of relationship with them. All you would have to do is say hey this is me and then leave the ball in their court. And I think that I wouldnt' tell them about your dad right away either. It is extremely unfortunate that you have had to carry the burden alone for so long but do you really want them to have to feel what you have at such a young age?
Your mom's comments are so sweet and it is obvious how much she loves you and how proud she is of you!
Whatever your decision, you have a beautiful family of your OWN so hold tight to them! Break the cycle love!

Lover of Life said...

I had the same situation with my half brother and half sister. My stepmother HATED me and my brother (my Mom died when I was six and my brother was six months), and tried desperately to keep us apart after she and my Dad divorced. My little sister was three and my brother was 5 at the time. She succeeded until my half brother and half sister turned 18. Then there was NOTHING she could do to keep us apart. We got back together and remain together- all saying we are brother and sisters - PERIOD. But there is stuff - my sister and I do not talk about her mother - she loved her mother (now deceased as is our father) - so it is off-limits. We have a normal relationship otherwise. Call your siblings - you need them and they need you. But not all things have to be discussed until the time is right. Give the relationships time to develop on their own for a while. And give them time to wrap their minds around having a big sis. You are lucky to have such a supportive mother. Good luck!

Megan said...

Wow. This is heavy stuff, Shannon! It's so hard to advise you what to do, because everyone will have their own opinion about the issue...but you asked, right? :)

I would reach out to them. They're your blood, right? More than that, though, I think you will always wonder if you don't try one last time. At least if you try and they don't respond, you can always, ALWAYS say you tried your best and did all you could.

Keep us posted - eager to hear what you decide!

Heidi said...

It is never too late to contact someone just to tell them you are alive and would love to have some relationship, whatever that may be. My relationship with my sister is chaos. Complete and utter chaos. We don't talk about much personal stuff b/c we get in fights, but I cherish every moment I get to really, really talk to her. I wouldn't miss that for all the pain, drama and chaos she brings to my life. Suck it up and go for it. At least you will have tried and not regretted the unknown.

moo said...

what a difficult decision!

I think you have to do what feels right for you ... it sounds like your mind is already made up, you just need to take the next step.

(If I was your half-sibling, I would want to know you were out there, even if I didn't take it well at the beginning)

GL!

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