Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.

skeletons in the closet

It has been a Christmas that will linger in our memories for many years to come. Petite Fille was showered with gifts for her first Christmas, we met Daughter2’s Beau who is as wonderful as she described, but perhaps the most memorable thing will be that Mr FD gained a brother. How you may wonder, considering both his parents are deceased?

It is an older brother, actually. An older half-sibling. Mr FD’s father never mentioned it to him, but we knew very late in life that there had been  an early first marriage in England during the war due to the arrival of a child. The story goes that The Old Man suspected the child was not his, but it took eight years before being egged on by an evil sister for him to he declare the child was not his and so departed to the colonies as a ten pound pom. He never made contact with the child again…

As I wrote, we only found out in the last decade, but knew no details – no names certainly. Through LinkedIn the daughter of the half brother made contact as she thought some facts added up and lo and behold, a big brother made contact this Christmas.

He is 75 years of age, and suffered a dreadful childhood, though went on to an academic career in an area not all that different to Mr FD’s field. He has one daughter, who in turn has one child. He always wondered what happened to his father…

How can people turn their backs so easily on children? I don’t know if he has taken any comfort in being told that he didn’t miss out on much of a father anyway!

“Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”
―     André Malraux

Obviously snobbery, face saving, rigid cultural mores and shame led him to abandon a child, but it has always been beyond my understanding. I know people do it everyday of the week, but to hide the facts, the very existence of a child who was your son, knew you as his father and bears your name, is just indescribably heartless. Not that I was ever surprised to hear he did – and in fact did the same to the family here in Australia for several years before a reconciliation.

It just goes to show that the truth will always out in the end. The Old Man hid his early “mistakes”, and yet now, now that he can no longer control facts or versions of the story, it has all come tumbling out. As we all agreed, the man is dead and we are still handling his messes.

On the positive side, while we have only communicated via email with attached photos to date, all seems to be progressing well, and Mr FD is quite intrigued by the existence of an older brother (and we feel sure he is a real brother).

I bet your Christmas surprises have dulled in comparison now!

“Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul.  They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.”
―     Cassandra Clare,     Clockwork Prince

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7 thoughts on “Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.

  1. Amazing, isn’t it, what people can do? And then go on with life – I don’t understand how they manage to ignore responsibility and bury the guilt.

    Sent from my iPad

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  2. Many years ago when I was interested genealogy, I had to make two versions of the family tree on my dad’s side of the family. One “official” version … and one TRUE version which had additions I’m still not sure some of my cousins know about.

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  3. It is shocking that someone could just leave a child behind as if abandoning a discarded piece of furniture. It sounds as if there may be a good ending to this story, however. Mr. FD is a generous soul and I hope he’s able to meet his half-brother in person someday.

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  4. Astounding what people can justify to themselves. What a wonderful gift for both men. Mr. FD gained a brother and the brother has had a lifelong question answered. Good result for both. I hope their initial contact will grow to friendship and they will be able to meet in person someday.

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  5. One thing I’ve learnt the hard way is the way time takes family and friends away from you. It morphs the people we knew into different folk who have some shared background with us. But physically and mentally they aren’t really the same people.
    The bonus of this situation is the complete lack of a relationship! This man can meet you even if only in a virtual way and get to know you both afresh. It’s the ideal way to make friends and family.

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