I recently gave my book, Sunlight on My Shadow, to my three brothers and my sister.  After working on it for four years, I was a bit timid to be laying it all out there.  I wondered if they would think I put Dad in a poor light.  I wondered if they would feel like it would be better to keep a tight lid on my story. None of them knew the details because, in 1967, when it happened my father instructed my brothers and sister to tell everyone that I had a kidney disease and that was why I had to go away.  They weren’t even supposed to tell the real story to their spouses.  Then,  when I left, no one visited me or said anything when I came home.  They never asked what it was like at the home for unwed mothers, or asked about the birth, or about giving away my baby.  It was to protect the secret. So for decades the story was kept in some cryptic place in our hearts.

Only a few days after I had sent the book, I got a phone call from my brother John.  He said he loved my story and couldn’t put it down.  He said he wished he had known what I went through so he could have been there for me.  Each of my other brothers, independently,  said the same thing to me.  My sister cried several times as I read my newly written words at the St. Croix Writer’s Group.  None of my siblings said I should keep the secret. No one said I should keep it in the past or dilute my story. What a great relief! Our family secret went from a dark, unspoken place of shame for me to a light place of acceptance in the telling.  I am so grateful to my dear family for their reaction to my story. It shows the courage and openness that each of them have to allow and even welcome the telling of this long-held secret.

Do you have any idea what this has done for my soul? I feel like flying from the treetops and skipping over ponds. I am light and whole with their acceptance, so free and unburdened. I love you dearly Jeff, John, Jim, and Jackie and thank you for the love and sweet caring that you have showered upon me. I hope I continue to glow in the way that I am feeling now. I am proud to belong to my family because of their courage to speak the truth and willingness to know it.