“We should not seek a world where the black race and white race live in harmony, but in a world in which the terms black and white have no real political meaning.”
– Ta-Naheshi Coates
April 19, 2018
Two weeks had passed, and my mind and emotions were still dizzy, hazy about my discovery. I was tired…emotionally, physically, and psychologically. I felt as if I was on a ship in a nasty storm, tossing to and fro, wondering if the pilgrimage would ever end. I needed it to stop because I was beginning to get sick. My body ached, and my throat was sore—probably from my crying and screaming fits in my car during lunch at work. I couldn’t endure another DNA match, new family information, or “A-Ha” moments. Not another thing. I wanted to tap out, roll out, drop the mic, and be out! Darkness knocked on my door again, but I was too tired to open it. I found myself asking God every day, “What and I supposed to learn from this?”.
Last week I somehow mustered up the strength to enrolled in a Master’s of Education program at Antioch University. I had been planning to do this for a while but had, well, been preoccupied. My plan was to start in the fall, but decided that it was best to start in the winter. I needed to get my mind together. Besides, I was a bit nervous anyway; I hadn’t been to college in over 20 years and now I felt old and tired. Another reason I had been delaying the process was because of money. I’d been searching for scholarships because I didn’t want to take out a student loan. I asked God for his help, and at that moment, I realized that I’ve reached out to God in these two weeks more than I have in over 10 years. I wiped away my tears.
“Ping!” It was my phone with another email from Sam. I had decided to pull it up on my computer so that I could read it clearly.
Subject: Some Business
Janeen, I’m going to be “all business” in this email. Therefore…First of all, it’s quite clear now that you actually are my daughter. My uncle, Tomas H. Maren, was a scientist pharmacologist and eventually became wealthy shortly before he died in 1999.
>>Pause. According to Wikipedia, Thomas H. Maren (1918 – August 15, 1999) was an American professor of medicine at the University of Florida. He was the founding father for the University of Florida School of Medicine, and he invented Trusopt to help people with glaucoma (which ironically people in my family used).<<
Before he died, he designated my mother, Priscilla Maren, as the trustee for my children’s educational funds. Each of my children were each designated [money] for educational expenses, to be turned over directly to the children at age 21. Your siblings all got theirs years ago. Yours has been invested in Vanguard Mutual Funds. There is a check already made out to you and in an envelope for the principal plus the interest. Please email me the address where you would like me to send the check. I will put it in the mail immediately.
I know this is a lot. Janeen, just take a deep breath and allow this to happen. Please give me an address ASAP so I can put the check in the mail, and by the way, I don’t much like dealing with finances, but it’s important.
Respectfully, With Love,
Sam Maren (Your Birth-Father)
P.S. If this is a bit overwhelming, I understand, but the above business has been waiting for almost 20 years to be carried out.
What in the world is this?!? I reread the email over and over, scanning each word in the message. Hysterically, I reached out for the air in front of my desk. I was experiencing another dizzy spell. I began to cry—not because I was happy but because my world was shaking again. I was experiencing an emotional aftershock. The energy released from the last two weeks was fracturing my soul, pushing, pulling, and twisting stresses that already had been placed on me. It was too much for me to bear and I broke again, releasing a new round of suppressed energy. I couldn’t take it anymore.
After resetting myself, I called Sam and thanked him for the generous gift but asked him to slow down, and said that I needed him to take a DNA test to confirm paternity. I’ve watched enough Maury Povich and Judge Judy episodes to know how paternity could be wrong, and that money makes a family go off the deep end. I didn’t want to be a part of that drama. I already had enough. Sam agreed but seemed confused as to why I was reacting that way.
“I’m pretty sure I’m the father!” he said. “I mean, I guess there could be another?”
“In the meantime, Sam, keep the money. If it’s meant to be for me, then I’ll take it when I am ready.”
“Janeen. I know this a lot in a very short time, but I want to get this money to you. I had it set aside for you… I figured you were out there somewhere, and I wanted to give you what you deserved.”
“Thanks, it’s really nice of you and your family, Sam. But I didn’t reach out to you for money or anything else. I don’t want to disrupt your family or finances. Do your children and wife know about this, and are they okay with this arrangement?”
“Yes, they do.”
My eyes began to tear up. The amount that was put aside for me and the accrued interest would cover the cost of my Master’s degree. My mind began to wander. I started to think about my dad again, and then my mother.
Snapping back to reality, I said quickly, “Yes?!”
“Janeen, I want you to understand that I want to give you your money as soon as possible. If you want to wait until the DNA test comes back, that’s fine. But I’m pretty sure I’m your father. You see…it’s really disgusting that in our country, African-Americans don’t get the reparations they deserve. So I want to hand this educational fund money over to you as soon as I can.”
I jerked my phone from my ear, scrunched my face, and looked at my phone. WHAT did Sam just say?!? REPARATIONS?