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Haunting Memories

Updated on December 17, 2015
1963 USAF Flight Suit
1963 USAF Flight Suit | Source
Daddy's flight suit.  Talked him into giving it to me on our last visit.
Daddy's flight suit. Talked him into giving it to me on our last visit. | Source
Daddy achieved the 1st to log 1,000 hours in the F-106.
Daddy achieved the 1st to log 1,000 hours in the F-106. | Source

He has dark hair with a receding hairline. Medium build. A dimple in his chin and he looks great in his orange flight suit. It's funny - I don't remember his eyes. Not the color, the shape or the emotion.

I've spent every emotion I possess on his memory, yet I don't recall the emotion in his eyes. Did he have any? Or did he have so much that it makes the pain even greater to remember? What has caused me to hang on all these years?

My memories of our relationship are good ones. Yet, my memories of his and my mom's aren't. All I remember between them is arguing. She was as much a child as I was, having given birth to me at the tender age of 18. But something has made him grasp my mind everyday for the past 19 years. His memory has gotten in the way of my ability to love. I'm afraid the person with whom I may fall in love, will leave me. Again. It's not fair that his memory has haunted and hindered me all these years.

Has he experienced any of this? I hope so!

I remember my excitement and pride as he brought thunderous life to his fighter jet. I didn't know it was a fighter plane, at the time. I just knew he was important and I was proud that he was my daddy!

I remember riding in a speed boat with him and thinking we were hitting rocks on the bottom of the water, but it was merely the water being slapped by the boat's speed. I remember a huge box stuffed with a Kodak camera, a sari, chopsticks, a matador doll and bull - all shipped from Viet Nam - all for me! Wow! - he really (still) loved me! Or did he? Does he still? Does he remember he helped create me? Am I really a part of him or was I just the result of a feat conquered?

I intend to find the answers to all my questions, so I can get on with my life and live in peace.


Update: it took another 15 years of emotional pain and unanswered questions for me to finally look for Daddy, despite the repercussions I may suffer with my mother. When our son was 4, my husband encouraged me to look for my father and get answers to my lifelong pain and wondering. It wasn't easy. When my mom remarried, her new husband unselfishly, lovingly adopted me and my brother and a few years later, blessed us with the birth our precious sister. (I truly love him. He gave us a good life and loves us higher than a star!) What I don't understand is, my birth certificate was revised to reflect my new dad as the man who had fathered me. Why can't birth certificates be amended to reflect the custody/name change? Why negate the original birth??? Upon contacting the courthouse of the city in which I was adopted, I was told my original birth certificate had been sealed and only my mom could authorize it's release. This wasn't going to happen and I didn't want to hurt Dad by asking, so I set about my search with only the memories of a 6 year old little girl to guide me. To this day, I don't understand how a legal document can be falsified like that. I remember my original birth certicate to be larger than 8 1/2" x 11", with my newborn footprints on the bottom and a raised seal, certifying my birth. My current birth certificate is a 7" x 6" microfiched document stamped and certified by the state in which I was born as being "an exact photographic copy of the original certificate filed in the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas." How is this possible? And legal?! Why not issue a Certificate of Adoption and leave the birth certificate as originally, truthfully documented??

The search

Back to the point: Because of Daddy's rank and status with the USAF, his current location was not public information. My son's father suggested I begin with my local congressman, since my attempts were leading me nowhere, no matter how hard I pled with the officials with whom I spoke. In January of 1997, I sent a pleading letter to my local Congress Representative, giving him all the information I could offer: birthdate and place of birth, same for my brother, mother's maiden name, Daddy's position with the Air Force when we got divorced and where we last lived as a family. To my delight, my Congressman responded to my letter, letting me know he'd contacted the Air Force and would get back to me when he had a reply. I had also contacted the UN with my plea. They were very compassionate and contacted the Air Force as well, and encouraged them to work with my Congressman to help in my search. The Department of the Air Force conducted a worldwide search on my behalf and found him! However, due to the Privacy Act of 1974, his location could not be revealed. The Department sent a letter to my Congressman on 2/12/97, waiving the locator fee and instructed him to have me write a letter to Daddy and send to them. They would in turn, forward my letter. The rest would be up to him.


On March 2nd, 1997, the day before my 40th birthday, I received a phone call from Daddy! We were both in tears! He flew me out to see him and later that year, came to Florida for my son's 5th birthday, which ironically, was how old my brother was the last time he saw him!

Finally overriding my fears of probable conflict with my mother, I followed my heart and found Daddy. It turned out well, although it could have gone the other way. I was prepared for the worst; I needed resolution to my life of wonder, hostility and bitterness. After all, I was now a mother. How could I give to my son and teach him morals, compassion and love when I was so bitter myself? I'm pleased to say, I and my son have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Daddy since that day. I have two loving fathers and my son, who lost his father four years ago to cancer, and his paternal grandparents recently, still has two grandfathers in his life.

Now my heart can rest and offer love instead of feeling pain, resentment and bitterness.

Happy Endings

Follow your heart

I encourage any of you who have a lost love, parent, child, sibling, anyone whose loss is tearing at your heartstrings, don't wait. Listen to your heart. Find that person and have your questions answered. Don't let the real or imagined reaction of others delay your search. After all, they have no idea the pain you feel. In fact, they probably chastise you for clinging to memories they've forgotten or want to forget. Don't listen to them, listen to yourself. Regain the time lost. Chances are, your lost love feels the same pain and emptiness as you! Don't let unanswered questions or "what ifs" cause you lifetime strife and heartache. Be brave. Be assertive. Don't wait until it's too late!

Word of advice: be compassionate when your life decisions encompass the lives of others. When I divorced my son's father (ironically at age 6), I promised both of them I'd never keep them apart. I know how it felt. I would NEVER inflict that on someone I love. My divorce was mine, not my son's. He had a hard enough time dealing with his parents no longer living together. Don't let your bitterness suppress or negatively affect your children's emotions. It's way too painful! Trust me, I know.



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

© 2011 Shauna L Bowling


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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 months ago from Central Florida

      Thank you Robert. Sorry for the late response. Apparently, I'm not getting notifications in my email.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 5 months ago

      This is a heartwarming story. I'm glad you met your birth father again and the reunion went well.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Paula, for so many years I was afraid to contact Daddy. I tried once in my early twenties and one of my uncles (one of Mom's brothers) who was also a lifer in USAF, told my mom of my attempt. Of course, his allegiance was to her, not me. I got reemed by my mom after that. So, many more years of emotional pain ensued. Once I became a mother myself, I had to have answers. I felt I couldn't be a mom to my son as long as my heart was aching, as long as I felt resentment, and as long as I had unanswered questions.

      One of the best things my husband did for me was to push me to find the answers no matter what may come.

      It worked out well for me and my son. He knows his bloodline and also has two grandpas. He lost his paternal grandpa not too long after losing his dad, so I'm glad that we both still have live ties to who we are.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Sha......I'm wiping away tears, This has touched me deeply. How wonderful that you did indeed follow your heart. ......something you will always remember and treasure. You had to find that "missing" piece.....absolutely! I'd have done the very same. Peace & Love, Paula

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Nancy, I wish you the best in your search. Perhaps she'll get curious and look for you. If it's meant to be, it will be. Have you tried looking up birth records for the date and place? That could be a starting point.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      bravewarrior, I'm so touched by your story. I too, have a family loved one I'm searching for, but I only have her birthdate and place of birth. I have no idea, (because of the closed adoption) what her name is, or the name of the family who adopted her. I'm so glad you found your Dad. It's a wonderful story, and I could just feel your emotion as I read. Thank you for sharing this, and maybe there's still hope for the success of my search.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Enjoy the book. And always remember to tell those you love that you do. You never know if or when you'll be able to say it again.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      That is very cool Shauna. I wish I still had grandparents. That's a blessing for your son. Have a great day. I'm just getting into the M&M Book II. I love this series of books!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Linda, besides having two loving fathers, my son still has two grandfathers. Granted, they're both on my side of the gene pool, but it's very cool.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I am so proud that you had the courage to find your father. I can imagine how important that was for your soul and moving forward. What a wonderful thing that you and your brother were blessed to have two dad's. I loved this story Shauna. Thanks for sharing :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Ghost, I hope your daughters find the gumption to look you up. Do they remember you? I was 6 when mom divorced Daddy, so I had memories of my hero. Took me a long time, but I finally defied mom's wishes and took the bull by the horns. I'm so glad I did. My brother has now also been reunited with him. My son was a pretty lucky guy, too. Until he lost his paternal grandfather last year, he had 3 grandpas. How many kids can say that?

      Thanx for sharing, Ghost. I hope a reunion is in your future!

    • profile image

      Ghost32 5 years ago

      Good work, Shauna. The Hub too, but mostly tracking your Dad down while there was still time in this incarnation.

      I'm the father of 2 daughters who've been estranged from me since they were pretty young. They do know who I am and also stay in touch with certain of my relatives, though, so they've got the tools for a reunion any time they choose to go that route.

      Voted Up Plus.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      There's not a whole lot of flagging here, r. Not for cuss words, anyway! Speak your piece! You'll soon find this site holds best friends you've been destined to meet. Go with your flow. The HP police will sometimes put a damper on your parade, but it's nothing you can't combat!

      Welcome! I think I'm gonna like having you around!!

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      You took the words out of my mouth! lol (I didn't want to get flagged for saying that!) Great job!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you for seeing the situation through my eyes, rcrumple. I had to, as you say, take the bull by the horns. I was prepared to deal with the outcome. I just could no longer wonder.... I had to know!

      Lucky for me and Daddy, I've got balls, huh?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Crackernutcase (interesting pen name!), I'm so sorry I haven't responded before now. HP didn't let me know you were hanging in the lurches!

      I'm so pleased with your response. This was a personal trek for me. I'm thankful for the time you've taken to respond.

      Peace to you from Bravewarrior!

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      So many, in your shoes, have simply thrown up their hands in frustration and said, "If he loves me, he'll find me." Thirty years later, they're filled with anger for not having searched. My congratulations for taking the bull by the horns and never giving up! You provide a life lesson for many! Great Hub!

    • Cracknutcase profile image

      Cracknutcase 5 years ago from India,bangalore

      Your hub moved me to great extents. I'm so glad you found the answers you were looking for. Life is too short to keep things unsolved.

      May the Almighty watch over you and your family.

      Great hub!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm glad you enjoyed it, shiningirlisheyes! It was a long time before I mustered up the courage, but I don't call myself bravewarrior for nothing! Sadly, Daddy's in poor health now and is 79 but still full of piss and vinegar!

      Thanx for stopping by and the follow! I will check out your corner shortly. I'm a little behind.....

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Such an amazing journey you took me on. I am overjoyed that you found your Dad. You have a wonderful outlook on life and this will continue to bring you what you desire.

      God Bless and thanks for the journey

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you so, so much! It came from the heart and is a true story. I so love writing! It's my soul coming forth and I'm in a constant state of discovery. Writing helps me do just that. Always has! I intend to pursue writing in hopes of replacing my current career with my passion. Your encouragement gives me all the more fortitude!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very well-wriiten. Very moving. Keep writing.


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