I’ve started to “prune” my family tree.
I think finding out someone wasn’t who you thought they were flings you out into the stages of grief… even though it was someone who I never met because they died before I was born!
DENIAL: Absolutely, the first thing I think is: “That can’t be true…”
ANGER: I don’t spend much time here, if at all, but I am aware that other family members can really get stuck here. “How dare you suggest that my SAINTED great-grandmother had an affair!!”
BARGAINING: This is my favorite stage… but what if they swapped babies (or DNA samples)…???? I like coming up with stories, so figuring out some way that I can square the old story with the new story is a big part of my process.
Maybe Mr. White and Mr. Young were the same person – but he lied to her about his name… as one example.
Or maybe she was married to Mr. White until he found out about the milkman (Mr. Young)…
Maybe she even believed (hoped?) that the baby did belong to Mr. White.
DEPRESSION: Oh, but look at all those people on my family tree that I was getting to know… I kind of like them and want to keep them… I’ve been there for a while. Do I or don’t I? We had to go through this process once before when we found out about Mr. White. Do we really have to do it again?
ACCEPTANCE: Yep, I just noticed that branch of the tree is WRONG. Got to disconnect them and start adding the real folks there. Last week they felt like the “real” folks, but this week they don’t anymore. I still like them just as much, they are still just as interesting, but I’ve accepted that, at most, they are in-laws or step-family.