So I found him. I found the "bad man."
It's kind of simple to label someone "bad," and then erase him from memory and the family history. But then I guess they didn't count on a curious granddaughter.
I have an unquenchable curiosity.
And I also believe that people are complex and there's probably more to the story. When someone's legacy leaves such a stain, such a smudge, such a secret, it's hard not to be curious. And it's hard not to wonder ...
Am I anything like him?
I know he left and eventually started a new family. Because one of my family members stumbled upon them and secretly made contact with his son, I have a picture. I have one little picture, and when I look at it, I see my brother's face. I can also see where I got my chin. That's my chin! It's eerie and awesome at the same time.
For most of my life I thought he was dead. Correction. They told me he was dead. Turns out he died the year after I was married.
I could have met him.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Family History Tip: Family conflict is inevitable, but it's important to remember there are two sides to every story. If you've heard negative things about a family member, do your best to talk to them personally or ask several people for validation. Everyone deserves a chance to defend themselves.