I hope I can explain this right, because I really need your help. I don’t want to go to family with this, not yet. About a year and a half ago I went back to my 30th year high school reunion and had a really great time. I’ve been divorced for over eight years, so it was good to see so many old girlfriends. I hadn’t been back to my hometown for a really long time. I’ve had short visits every once in a while since joining the Army after graduation. Shortly after my visit, my homie called to tell me Sharon (not her real name) wanted to talk to me about my son. Sharon is one of my old girlfriends. I was like, what! I NEVER knew she was pregnant and I certainly didn’t know we had a son. I was shocked by what he said and didn’t follow through. I thought, if it was true, she should contact me directly and handle her business a little better than that. Fast forward two months ago I read on Facebook, Sharon had died. I don’t know what to do. Should I reach out to her son? He has to be at least 30 years old by now. How do I approach a grown man about being his father all these years later? Maybe I should just leave it alone, but it bothers me more and more every day. I’ll be honest, I’m angry and pissed! What is your advice?
Wow, I can’t imagine the shock, surprise, resentment and disbelief. Clearly, you’re wrestling over this 30 year bombshell , blast from your past news that has bruised. Talk about a knock out — I feel you, son. Hopefully, my ability to sympathize and connect will break the ice and allow us to have a mini, meaningful, mature conversation. This is enormous, and yes, yes, you have every right to be outraged. My advice is first, do what you do to relieve stress, then, get to crackin’ and clean up this mess.
The pain of a child overrides the pain of a parent. He’s grown, but you’re “growner” (my word, you know what I’m sayin’). As the parent, you must make this right. Is it too late for you to reconcile? No with a capital NO! Don’t you dare take your mind down that road of disillusionment. That’s a cop out. Ummhm, the same clumsy, selfish, inconsiderate decision his mother made years ago. The reality is you owe it to your son to “man up and own your circumstances.” It’s time to acknowledge him and correct it. Mama tried, whatever, better late than never. We’ll never know her reasons why. Today belongs to you, make it right, make him whole, cause that’s what fathers do.
If you aren’t looking to get or gain anything from your son, I’d say by all means, take the first step. Approach him unconditionally with an open heart. Be frank, he can handle it. He’ll make the next move, respect it. If it’s a positive reaction, what a blessing. If it’s a negative, he has reasons, thirty of ‘em. So keep at it, don’t give up on him. Never, ever speak ill of his mother under any circumstances. Accept the empathy that’s overwhelming you and respond to it, don’t ignore it. Sharon’s watching down from heaven, praying you’ll do the right thing and so am I.
Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.