Easter is the most important event in the Christian calendar. Christ’s resurrection signals a renewal and a rebirth, new life and new hope arising from his crucifixion and sacrifice for humankind.
There is a certain irony that this would be the day Andrew chose to arrive, fully grown and yet newly-born into the family he had never known.
Easter came early in 1970, Easter Sunday itself falling on March 29. It was an unremarkable spring weekend notable only for the chilly weather and driving rain that marred the holiday weekend. On Holy Saturday, the rain wasn’t enough to deter the Traynor children from playing outside, four boys and one girl marauding between house and garden.
Inside their mother was involved in her usual whirlwind of housework, cooking and refereeing disputes between the kids while her own mother sat in her familiar chair at the kitchen table, engrossed in her crossword puzzle and listening out for the football score updates coming from the television in the next room.
Within one tumultuous hour, that typical Saturday would be transformed into something quite extraordinary.
A mother was reunited with the son she hadn’t seen in 37 years – and the secret shame she had kept buried for half a lifetime was revealed to the world.
Two sisters were suddenly and shockingly presented with the reality of a half-brother they had no idea existed.
And a troubled man searching to find himself, to know where he fitted into the world, began his journey to peace and acceptance in the front room of a council house in one of Glasgow’s biggest housing schemes.
I was a week or so short of my fifth birthday when this handsome American priest walked up the path of our house in Pollok. As a Catholic, church-going family, we were used to priests coming and going. Even the accent wasn’t enough to arouse much interest from us kids – my nana, Lizzie, had a brother in New Jersey and we had entertained occasional visitors from the States.
But Andrew wasn’t making a social call. His journey to our door had begun months earlier when he had gone into therapy after embarking on a period of destructive behaviour that threatened his career and his sanity.
His transatlantic journey had been made on an impulse, a decision that could have been the most disastrous of his life but instead brought him into the heart of a large, loud but loving family – the sort he had longed for throughout a lonely childhood.
Either she would tell me I’d got it wrong and she wasn’t my mother or she’d admit she was but that she wanted nothing to do with me
As he stood on the doorstep, his heart pounded as he prepared to come face to face with his mother for the first time in more than 30 years. The possibilities of acceptance, of love, of warmth and comfort were far from his mind. Instead he felt fear – fear first and foremost of rejection, fear that he might not even have found the right woman.
Those brief moments as he walked to the front door stretched to an eternity of doubt and terror.
‘At that point I just wanted to get it over with,’ he said. ‘Either she would tell me I’d got it wrong and she wasn’t my mother or she’d admit she was but that she wanted nothing to do with me. I had no thoughts beyond that.
‘I was tired from the journey but I needed to face this, needed to face her and take whatever was coming.’
What was coming would change his life forever and his story – one that began with anger, hurt, guilt and fear but ultimately ended in joy and unceasing love – has become one our family never tires of sharing.
This is Andrew’s story.
© Frances Traynor 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission form this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Frances Traynor and brightonjock.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.