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Old 04-13-2012, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Greater Greenville, SC
5,893 posts, read 11,400,842 times
Reputation: 10557

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I was fortunate that circumstances miraculously came together and allowed me to meet my real father only once when I was about 36 and going through a divorce. We had a wonderful meeting, and he answered a lot of my questions.

He had been engaged to my mother, who jilted him and married some jerk. He was heartbroken, and my Mom's dad talked him into joining the service. He later met a woman whom he married and had a family with but apparently had never told them about me.

One of his daughters had been killed in an accident the summer before I contacted him, and his wife was still grieving that loss, so after meeting, he and I agreed that we would have no further contact.

I never really blamed my father or thought I had issues about the absence of him while growing up, because my grandfather always took care of me, put me through school, etc. However, lately (and now in my 60s) I have been thinking about my father a lot. He came from a large family -- a family I know very little about and was never privileged to be a part of. My family is small and continues to shrink. I don't want an inheritance or anything from him or his family, but I would dearly love to make contact. He would be 87 now if still living so perhaps not much time left.

I want to keep my promise to him. Should I let meeting him that one time be more than enough, or should I pursue this?

I was able to come up with a current address and phone number, but I don't know how to proceed, should I decide to. Should I just call and ask if he's still living? If he isn't, should I even mention to his surviving family who I am? This is agonizing!
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:38 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 4,770,526 times
Reputation: 1951
Your feelings and needs are understandable. We all go through that need to find more family or learn more about our families as we start to lose our loved ones.

But these are decisions only you can make. Everyone's experience is different and what's right for one may not be right for someone else. You should take into serious consideration the fact he never told them about you and wanted no further contact with you. You can assume they still don't know, and if he has passed on then getting blindsided after 60 years with a half-sibling they never knew of could be very difficult for all involved, and leave them with some ill-feelings about their father when he's no longer there to explain it to them and work through it with them. Your instincts are already telling you this and causing you to proceed carefully.

I think your first step should be to find out if he's still alive. If he is, then you can connect again and ask him to tell them before it's too late. Let him know if he doesn't, you will, and it's so much better if it comes from him.

If he has passed on then you will have to decide if you want to open that emotional can of worms, as you will take the brunt of the stages they will go through, that should have been dealt with by him, not you, compounded by them not being able to have closure with their father over it. You have a much better chance of being accepted and forming a relationship with them if the news comes from him.

So, if you want to share his name and contact info, either here on the forum or privately through the direct message system, we can look for his name in the Social Security Death Index to see if he's still living.

Once you know one way or the other, you can focus on the best way to proceed. If this was my situtation, I'd contact him if he's living, but if he's not I'd put a lot more thought into it before deciding to break the promise.
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Old 04-13-2012, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Greater Greenville, SC
5,893 posts, read 11,400,842 times
Reputation: 10557
I really appreciate your thoughtful response. I spent a while this afternoon searching the Social Security Death Index. I don't have my father's SS#. There was one person with his name and a different middle initial (a part I'm nor certain of) who had died in a town not too far from where he lived and born the same year as he. But I feel that the man I found (based on things I knew) is one with a different middle initial and is potentially still alive.

The only way I can figure out to determine if he's still alive is to call the phone number I have for him. Alternatively, there is another phone number and an Email address that could possibly be a son. I can't imagine an 87-year-old man being on the Internet regularly.

I'll definitely ponder this some more and pray about it seriously before I do anything, but if I had the answer, I wouldn't be seeking further input.
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:10 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 4,770,526 times
Reputation: 1951
Well, the offer still stands if you want any of us to search for you. Just send a direct message to the searcher of your choice, with the name and address you do have, because we may be able to find a record for that name and address with his birthdate and/or middle name on it. Then you would know for sure if the one you found in the index was the right or wrong person. Depending on what state he lives in, we might be able to find the kids' names, too, if you don't already have their info. Cold-calling just to see if he's alive might thrust you into a conversation you aren't prepared for with the wife or one of the kids.

Whatever you want to do, it's up to you, but we're here if you want help or support.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
2,457 posts, read 6,323,114 times
Reputation: 1869
I 10-4 what hcgCali posted above. I have a similar background as yours, including grandparents, so I can fully understand what you are going through, however, my strongest response is to the fact you and your father had a mutual agreement of no future contact; I would honor that. Difficult to accept, but I would honor that agreement.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:16 AM
 
Location: by Heidelberg in Germany
239 posts, read 409,677 times
Reputation: 361
I have not had contact with my dad for a very long time over an argument we had. We are both stubborn. And I wouldn't have made contact.
He did out of the blue. He said he didn't want to die without making things right. he changed his mind... he is now almost 84 and we have a pretty good relationship and are in contact (living 6 hrs apart now).
So I think it should be up to him. Maybe he has changed his mind. He should be given the chance to decide for himself if he is still alive. Maybe he wants contact but doesn't know how to find her?
Just my thoughts.

Good luck
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Greater Greenville, SC
5,893 posts, read 11,400,842 times
Reputation: 10557
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeHexi View Post
I have not had contact with my dad for a very long time over an argument we had. We are both stubborn. And I wouldn't have made contact.
He did out of the blue. He said he didn't want to die without making things right. he changed his mind... he is now almost 84 and we have a pretty good relationship and are in contact (living 6 hrs apart now).
So I think it should be up to him. Maybe he has changed his mind. He should be given the chance to decide for himself if he is still alive. Maybe he wants contact but doesn't know how to find her?
Just my thoughts.

Good luck
Even if my Dad did change his mind, I'm not sure how he would find me. I now go by a different last name and have moved to another state. Thus, it would be easier for me to make the contact. I'm going to DM the first poster who responded to my query and maybe seek some additional help and advice. I would like to just let it go, but something inside is not letting me.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
2,457 posts, read 6,323,114 times
Reputation: 1869
Good call. hcgCali is known for good advice and research access. Good luck.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Native Floridian, USA
4,904 posts, read 6,120,472 times
Reputation: 6112
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArkansasSlim View Post
Good call. hcgCali is known for good advice and research access. Good luck.
She is my hero....LOL. Good luck and I hope you find peace with whatever you decide.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:07 AM
 
10,837 posts, read 14,860,540 times
Reputation: 5095
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhotogGal View Post
Even if my Dad did change his mind, I'm not sure how he would find me. I now go by a different last name and have moved to another state. Thus, it would be easier for me to make the contact.
It's been about 30 years since you met with him.
At age 87, he may have seen his own siblings pass away, over the years, and is more aware of aging and losing relatives.

There is a chance that he has changed his mind.

Maybe not to the extent that the two of you become active in each other's lives, but maybe basic communication between blood relatives. Who, in reality, are getting older by the year.

One of these years, it will be too late.
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