I’m not supposed to tell you this story. Even so, the man who told it to me doesn’t think his mother would mind.
I can’t tell you his name, but I can tell you he’s a silver-haired Georgia boy, with the vibrant personality of a tailgate party.
“I never knew my real parents,” he said. “I was adopted, I figured that out when I was young.”
He had a nice life—the only child of a poor woman. He grew up quick, became a roofer. He married a good lady, had three kids. He’s retired now.
Something’s chewed at him his whole life.
“In high school,” he said. “We did family tree projects. So, I asked Mama about my genealogy. The only information she knowed was my birthmother’s name. So, I looked her up, but was too chicken to call her.”
He’s several decades older now. A few years ago, he decided to try again. It led him to his birthmother’s youngest son—his half brother.
“She was still alive,” he said. “Took me weeks to decide if I really wanted to see her, I was scared.”
So, he drove to Tennessee to find a ninety-something-year-old woman who could hardly walk.
“Soon as I saw her, I started crying. It was her posture, her shoulders looked like mine. I’ve always slumped.”
Both of them cried until their throats clogged. She told him she still prayed for him every day. And then, while touching his cheek, she said, “I love you, and I’m sorry.”
He lost it, right in front of me.
“Hell,” he said. “She was only fifteen when she give me up, I don’t blame her.”
But, his younger half-siblings weren’t so gracious, since inheritances were at stake. And as it happens, we’re talking millions and millions.
His half-sister told him to, “go to hell.” His half-brother threatened worse.
“I don’t want her stuff,” he said. “My whole life, I’ve felt unwanted, like I wasn’t worth keeping. Now I know that woman who got rid of me, really loved me.”
For two years, he drove four hours every weekend to feel that love.
Her funeral was last month.
When he read her eulogy, he referred to her as, Mama, and stated before everyone that he loved her. The woman’s kids stormed out of the chapel.
“That’s okay,” he tells me. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can’t hold something against someone else. You gotta forgive’em. I don’t want a cent of their money.”
That’s why she made him executor of her will.