Her brother entered the living room with an at-home ancestry kit, contending he was curious about his Scandinavian heritage.
According to him, he bought it with his neighbor, who owned one as well. Neither of them knew what their actions would unleash.
A Peaceful Life
Mary Elizabeth Keaton’s intention in moving to Glendale, Missouri, was to live the remainder of her life in a tranquil neighborhood with those she loved the most.
She’d had a long life filled with both successes and missteps. But one blunder she’d made during the past four decades would come back to bite her.
She Was Lucky
Mary settled in Glendale at the age of fifty-nine with her amazing husband Mark and her younger brother Gary. Her kids had left the home years ago, so their house spent most of the time is empty. Especially while she was at work.
She was a biology teacher at a high school, and she was very lucky. She had a lovely home with great neighbors. Many people who saw Mary would have no idea that she had been hiding a dreadful secret for over 40 years.
Her First Love
Mary had been in love before she married Mark. Or so she believed. She was very young when she met the boy who changed everything. She was fifteen years old, and he was a dashing senior.
She enjoyed being with him, and she felt like nothing mattered if he wasn’t there to share it with her. But this kind of thinking would get her in to difficulty sooner or later.
A Painful Memory
Even though forty years had passed, she still could not help but think about that one fateful morning she took the pregnancy test. She remembered feeling powerless when she learned she was too young to care for a child.
She could still remember her former boyfriend telling her that she was crazy. But she was only fifteen years old, what were her options?
Mary made the difficult decision to give her child up for adoption after many hours of discussion with her therapist, mother, and doctor.
Her family was struggling financially back then, and she knew that it would be impossible for her family to support another child, even if they wanted to. Mary’s counselor suggested a course of action, claiming that it would be beneficial for all parties involved.
Her Biggest Mistake
Mary’s baby was adopted by a lovely pair who were not able to have children of their own. It was a painful experience, but she knew that her son would be able to live a life she could never give him.
All of the pain faded away after that, and she moved on with her life. Yet no matter how the years passed, Mary would quietly reflect upon the sacrifice she’d made to give up her first child – something she considered her biggest mistake in life. Little did Mary know what fate would bring her.
Mary had a good life in Glendale, but it was no thanks to her neighbors, the Hales. The Hales and Mary’s family, particularly Mark and Mary’s younger brother Gary, were always at odds.
The main points of contention would be petty, such as whose dog urinated on whose lawn and whose nightlights kept who awake. One day, however, something would happen that would make everything explode.
A Strange Relationship
Summer had just begun, and forty-year-old Gary was spending time with Chris, the father of the Hales family. Mary thought their relationship was one of the most interesting she’d ever witnessed. They’d be joking one minute and fighting the next.
But that week, Gary showed up with an ancestry kit in the living room, proclaiming he wanted to discover how deep his Scandinavian roots ran. He explained that he had bought the kit with Chris. They had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
Gary entered his information into the DNA database, only to learn that he and Chris are perhaps first cousins. The two purchased new testing kits from a different manufacturer, believing the old ones were defective.
The results were identical, which forced them to obtain further testing kits. The answer was different in this case. It sent shivers down their spines and resurrected nightmares Mary had fought so hard to keep hidden.
“Gary came home that night with his eyes glossy and mouth wide open,” Mary shared. She revealed her little brother had always been the easy-going type, and seeing him this worried made her mind race.
“I couldn’t tell what had happened, but I knew it was serious,” she said. Before she could speak, Chris walked in after Gary. What they’d reveal would send her faltering back.
Gary And Chris
Gary and Chris explained what they’d been doing, and as they continued to talk, the reality of it all began taking form right before Mary’s eyes.
“The results said we were first cousins,” Gary said. “But we’ve taken more tests, sis.” Chris stepped forward, his eyes glistening with stemmed tears, “Most of the tests claim he’s my uncle, and you’re my biological mom.”
Mary fell back. The world around her was spinning, the air in her lungs thinning. She struggled to take her breaths, her mind seemingly threatening to implode on itself.
The pain she’d felt forty-four years ago while giving up her son came back with a stinging vengeance. She ate back a cry. Her eyes trailed up, locking with her little brother before straying to Chris. She gasped.
Putting It Into Perspective
Looking at Chris put everything into perspective. For the last two years that Mary and her family lived in Glendale, she’d felt like she knew Chris or had at least met him before.
She’d spent the first few months trying to place him but ultimately gave up when it became too taxing—but staring at him now filled in the blanks. Chris was her son.
Mary sat down with her husband, brother, and neighbor that evening. She opened up about her past, remembering that Gary had been a little over a year when she gave Chris up, so he didn’t remember it.
She’d expected Chris or Mark to be mad at her for her past, but they were anything but. They understood the tough decision she’d had to make and assured her that they still had time to create a lifetime of memories together.