OK, now I think I have a new third worst day in my life. Friday, mid-afternoon, I got a phone call on my cell phone from the area code where the mother lives. I answered, and she said, "[My name]?" Thinking it was the mother, I responded, "Yes?" Turns out it was my daughter, who sounds exactly like her mother. She had just gotten the letter and called to bless me out. To say she was angry would be a huge understatement. Told me this was a secret "I should have taken to my f-ing grave." She never had the slightest idea. I told her I understood she was angry and if she needed to direct it at me, that was fine. She asked me several times if I was sure I was her father, and each time I responded that I had no doubt. So, she said she needed to talk to her mom, but "don't be surprised if you never hear from me again." And the call ended.
I was shaking like a leaf. I've argued cases in federal court in front of all 12 judges and a packed courtroom, but I was not as nervous as I was after this phone call. I called my wife and she told me to come home. Clearly, I would get no work done in this state. So I came home with the intention of helping my wife get ready to go to our beach house for the weekend. We went to the grocery store, but I started having a panic attack and had to go back to the car (I suffer a form of PTSD resulting from my father being stabbed to death in a public bathroom, so I have medication to manage the panic attacks, which are exacerbated by stress). My wife bought me a 4-pack of beer to sip on in the parking lot while she shopped and then my daughter called me again. She asked me a bunch of questions she had apparently written down. It was truly impressive the amount of information she wanted in such a short time after finding out the truth. She wanted medical history, do I play a musical instrument (we both play the piano and my father was a virtuoso), do I have a weight problem (yes, sorry), "Would you say you have an addictive personality?" Yes, obviously. We spoke for probably half an hour, in which she told me she was taking a month of sea duty aboard an aircraft carrier beginning Tuesday, so we would have no communication for a month. She would sort things out and contact me when she got back, so we could ask more questions of each other. It was surprisingly cordial.
Later that evening, when I realized I had fumbled the ball when she asked if I had any questions of her, I sent her a text asking what kind of music she played on the piano. She responded and we had a brief, friendly exchange. However one of the messages was "I wish your letter had gotten lost in the mail." I told her I would back off and wait until she was ready to communicate with me.
Fast forward to Saturday. Took the family on a trip up a local spring-fed river in the boat and when we returned, I was playing a game of Scrabble with my wife and my daughter was kibitzing, when I got a text from my daughter, saying, "I've thought about it and decided I don't want to have anything to do with you." I quickly hid the message, but my daughter may have seen it. I waited until an opportune moment, then responded, "If that is your wish, I will respect it. If you ever change your mind, you know how to contact me. The door is always open." She responded back, "I'm closing the door [my name.] I don't believe any of your lies. Words cannot express how disappointed I am to be related to someone so selfish." So, I asked, "What do you think I lied about?" No response, and I don't expect one. I asked the same question of the mother after she sent me the e-mail saying I was "NEVER a friend," also with no response. I get the feeling her mother came up with some lie about how I was so awful that she was justified in not revealing the truth." Problem is, she and her mother have both accused me of lying, but won't say about what. Pretty clever little scheme. Accuse me of lying, but don't tell me what it is I supposedly lied about so I can't defend myself.
So this really worked out well..........not. At this point, I am doing my best to process the whole thing and move on with the expectation that I will never hear from her again. I told my wife that was probably a good thing, as it would "simplify" my life, not having to worry about this whole thing any more. I swear I've aged 10 years in the past 6 months. She said she didn't want my life to be "simple," she wanted me to be happy. She also reassured me I did the right thing, as I've been questioning that pretty seriously. Maybe some people prefer being lied to. I don't know. I could sure use some advice at this point as I'm an emotional wreck. Did I really do the right thing?