When I was 13 years old sitting on the floor of the gym waiting for the gym teacher surrounded by my friends and school mates, one nasty girl told me that she knew something about me that I did not know . She said that I was adopted. I told her that she was wrong,.but I couldn’t help but think that it might be true. I had always felt different and maybe this was the reason why.
The whole class fell silent and I remember cycling home that day desperately hoping that it was a lie. When I asked my mom if it was true, the expression on her face answered my question. From that day onwards I had to hide my true feelings and my yearning to know who I was because I did not want to hurt my adoptive parents, It was like living a double life – the one in my head and the one I shared with my adoptive family. I didn’t want to be adopted . I wanted them to be my real parents but the truth is that nobody wants to be adopted.
My mother lived until she was almost 104 years old. Some of her relatives and friends were shocked at the revelation that she had a daughter. They did everything in their power to try to convince her that I was not her daughter but of course she was in no doubt whatsoever about who I was
She was still cooking and keeping fit until she had a fall a couple of months before her hundred and third birthday. Then I left my home in Lisburn and I stayed with her for the final year of her life so that she would not have to go and live in an old people’s home.
She was still practicing her french, reading OK and Hello Magazines and got her first email address at the age of 103. She was delighted about that because she saw the internet as an opportunity to become world famous. Her ambition was to be more famous than Einstein.
It was uncanny she was the only person that I had ever met who could truly understand me and I really felt as if I was in her head, she told me that I would have to learn to stand up for myself. She taught me that age is only a number. She bought an exercise bike in her eighties, got married in her nineties and was still happy to pick up a microphone and sing to an audience in a hotel on her hundredth birthday. That was my truly amazing mother . At first she didn’t want to know me and at one point banished me from her home but during that year that I spent with her we truly bonded as mother and daughter and I was so happy when she said that we were like two peas in a pod..
I miss her a lot and I think of her every day but I realize how lucky I was to finally meet her after my forty year search. I wrote a book about our story and she was hoping it would become a movie and we would go to the premier together. You are never to old to dream or to turn your life around – that’ s just one of the many things that she taught me by her attitude to life and her actions.