Closing a Door, Opening a Beginning
I’ve been staring at this paper for a good hour praying for the right words to explain one of the most difficult and one of the bravest moments I’ve ever experienced. When trying to come up with the words to write I feel vulnerable, raw, and emotional, but I realized letting these feelings come to light is one of many definitions of brave.
The beginning of my 1st grade school year was also the beginning of the time I would spend in the foster care system. It was a time of change and a time that my brother, sister, and I will never forget. My birth mother was struggling with drug related problems and my birth father had never been a part of the life that I can remember.
After being in the foster system for 2 years, I was adopted in the 3rd grade. I grew up with a big family in Wisconsin and was lucky enough to be adopted with my siblings, too. Having very little contact with my birth mother, I had even less contact with my birth father, but I always felt like a part of me was missing.
My senior year of high school, I found my father through the internet. My best friend and I decided to do an investigative search and, through certain resources, we were able to find my birth father’s number. I waited to contact him. I was scared to death and so many thoughts and questions were running through my mind. What would his reaction be? Why hasn’t he tried to find me? Does he even love me? These thoughts kept me from contacting him for many months until one day I worked up enough courage to text him, “Hello Maurice, my name is Madilyne. This is your daughter.”
I remember it was very late at night, but he immediately called me. To my surprise his reaction was different than I thought it would be. He was crying hysterically and apologized for never being a part of my life. He wanted to have a relationship again. I felt brave enough to take a chance and let the father who has been out of my life for 18 years, right back in it.
The summer going into my freshman year of college my father and I stayed in contact. We talked almost every day and he seemed to be consistent until summer started to come to a close. Talking nearly every day turned into talking once a week, which shrunk to talking once a week, then once a month, until it eventually stopped. Our relationship lasted 3 months and then my father cut our relationship off. My father never talked to me again….
One year ago I got a call saying that a man I barely knew had suddenly passed away. This was my father who I haven’t seen since I was in diapers and haven’t talked to since that summer he stopped talking to me. With all this said, hearing the news of his passing still made me full of emotions. I mourned the loss of someone who should have been there for his children, I mourned the loss of ever getting a chance to fix things with the man who gave me life, and I even mourned the fact that I was even mourning a man who was never there…
Being that he lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, my brother and I were faced with the choice of driving 800 miles to say our last goodbye to a man we haven’t seen in 21 years and meet a family we have never met, or not. With prayer, my grandparents’ undying love, and a calling from the big man upstairs, we hopped into a car and drove; we hopped into a car and we decided to be brave. This choice was solely based off of having closure in a chapter of our life, but God saw it as a chance to open another door…
For my brother and I, my father’s funeral was full of emotions. We were sad for the memories that many individuals shared that we never got to experience with our father. We were also full of joy because of the family connections we made that day. The day of the funeral I was able to connect to a Grandma, an Uncle, Cousins, and, most importantly, my older brother, Anthony. It took a road trip to Arkansas, a lot of prayer, and my father’s funeral to meet my older brother and find out he lived in the same state as me. If it wasn’t for the act of bravery of attending the funeral of the father we never knew, we would have never met Anthony. I would never say that being brave is easy but I will always say that it is worth it.
R.I.P Maurice (Corky) Cordell Simbler