I am the proud daughter of a Roman Catholic priest, now deceased. His name isn’t important to this story as his family members don’t know about me. But it is important to know that he was a family man committed to a vocation that didn’t allow him to publicly express this beautiful part of his soul.
I was 30 years old when I found out he was my biological father. I was angry that my mother hadn’t trusted me with this information sooner as I would’ve done anything to protect him. He was an integral part of my life from the moment I took my first breath until the moment he took his last. I adored him, then; I still do, now. And I miss him terribly …
This man did not abandon us. He took care of us while continuing his ministry. Now that I am older I can better understand the choices he made: He was committed to his Church while also being committed to my mother and me. My mother gave him the gift of allowing him to follow his spiritual calling while also allowing him to participate in our family life. She gave him the gift the Catholic Church continues to refuse to gives its priests; he did not have to choose one over the other.
I’ve spent my life struggling with issues of trust and secrecy and shame and emotional abandonment. These lessons were gifted me by my circumstances, and it has taken me the better part of 51 years to find peace. But these experiences have allowed me to grow and learn, and to discover compassion for two adults who made the best choices they could. I am, unexpectedly, grateful.