‘Celia’s Secret: A Journey towards Reconciliation’


‘The link between Love and Truth shall not be broken.’


Thomas Moore, the contemporary American writer, describes the family as the nest into which soul is born, nurtured and released into life. Looking at the intricate dynamics of family life, he explains that families are complex and paradoxical; containing both good and bad influences and it is the combination of these positive and negative elements which enable children to adapt and grow. Through struggling with these forces the child emerges into adulthood. Children usually survive their experiences of family life but many carry noticeable scars and deficiencies which can remain with them, perhaps forever. The family, he says, is not a sentimental creation; it exists for a purpose and is a rite of passage. It is in coming to terms with these ‘battle wounds’ that we discover who we are. Undeniably, family life has a profound effect on the formation of the individual and one recognized truth is that the spirit of the child lives on in the adult.

Most families have their imperfections for they are only human. Their stories are an entanglement of secrets, memories and manipulations of the truth which throw light on the everyday workings of family life and how we manage its complexities. This memoir is the story of my family secret and its effect on me and other close family members. Family secrets can have serious long-term consequences. Sometimes, one family member may bear the burden of the secret alone fearing the consequences if the secret is divulged. Often it is not what is said that gives away the secret, but what is not said. Children can be left with a damaged sense of identity and a sense of sadness, loss and grief.   They can feel that they have been profoundly betrayed. Pretending to be someone you are not is a waste of the person you are. Did you not love me enough to tell me the truth?

When I embrace the truth I am not always rewarded with a clear conscience and peace of mind. The truth is not always friendly and it is not always simple; it can cause pain and division. The truth can bind a person instead of setting them free. My story follows my own discovery of the family secret, my changed relationship with my mother and the enduring emotional fallout following that discovery. The process of reconciliation is woven, like a pattern, into my life story and has taken many years to achieve. A broken heart and anger will close a heart until honesty and love is found once again. I have put honesty and love at the heart of my search for reconciliation. I hope that these will remain an enduring legacy of this story.

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