JG - A tale of two 'jackets'
A tale of two 'jackets'
published: Sunday October 7, 2007
Gareth Manning, Sunday Gleaner Reporter
Judith was just finishing up high school when she discovered that the man who had fathered her for 16 years was not her biological father.
"It was a Saturday, and we took a walk with my mother up in the hills and she told me, and then said I shouldn't say anything to anyone," Judith recalls. "It just came out of the clear, blue sky. There was no warning, no idea this was coming and nothing was said afterwards.
"I heard people say it when I was growing up, but I never saw it as anything," she tells The Sunday Gleaner. It turned out, the man who was her biological father was the uncle of the man who had raised her.
The relationship with her mother deteriorated after that.
"Me mother start treat me a way. Then and there me feel like she never love me and all that. Me feel like me did want to run away one time, man," she recalls. She left the house at 17 and went to live with her sisters in another section of the parish.
Judith forgave her mother eventually and they agreed never to speak about the issue again. However, the relationship with the man who was her father for most of her life disintegrated.
"Him no really talk to me, not like how him use to talk to me before I was 16. Some things really change," she says. He stopped supporting her financially, forcing her to support herself in the final months of high school. The relationship hasn't recovered since.
The relationship between Jane and the man she knew as her father was rocky. She had always felt like she was different from her sisters. She always felt like she was being punished for something.
"I was going through a difficult time in life and needed her support and I was wondering, 'Why is she telling me this now?'" Jane recounted the day her mother told her the five words that would affect her life for years to come.
The open secret damaged Jane's relationship with her mother. She was once like a sister to her, but now seemed like a traitor.
"I resented her," she related. "I told her that if I never had anything else to talk about, then I wouldn't call her because this was probably worse than what I was actually talking to her about." But Jane soon forgave her.
"She kept it from me but I felt as if I knew from I was young," she said.
Jane longs to have a relationship with her biological father, but that will never happen. He died when she was still a little girl.
"Sometimes I think about it and you know, according to people, you get your character traits from your parents and stuff like that, and I always would like to know if I was in any way like him," she says.
Though she knows where his sisters are, she has never tried to contact them.
"I do it out of respect for my mother. She's married to my father now and I know that me and him don't have a good relationship ... and I really don't want, on my account, to really spoil anything for my mother," she said.
Not real names.