The letter was sent in 1959 and she never let him see it.
Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.
After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.
The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.
"Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write you and find out how you are," the letter reads. "Tony, please don't be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five-years- old now - grey eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say Tony is he is your son."
"Please, Tony if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him," Shirley wrote in the letter. "Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me Tony I can't even answer him anymore. If would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. ... I'll close now hoping and praying you will answer. P.S. His name is Samuel Duane."
Now, Tony faced the fact that he had a son that would be around 60 years old and he set out to find him. For over a year, Trapani’s sister tried to track down the mysterious Samuel Duane Childress, until she finally contacted his wife, Donna.
Tony and Samuel met in January 2015 and he felt like a new dad. After meeting his father, Samuel said his mother told him she sent the letter, but Tony never responded. "Why my wife didn't tell me," said Trapani. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried."
"I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?'' Samuel said. "She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror."
The two met and caught up on a lifetime of memories with the understanding that they could never change the past. "Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," Samuel said. But just to be sure, Tony took a paternity test to ensure they were father and son.
The test came back negative, revealing that Tony was not the father. The news upset Tony and Samuel, but they still had a unique bond. They shared a relationship with Samuel’s mother and both have been on an incredibly wild ride after Tony found the mysterious letter.
“They're keeping that bond,” Donna said. “That paper doesn't mean anything to him. That bond has been made—and we're going to move on from here.”
Is it disrespectful?
The title of dad or father is a sweet and respectful way to acknowledge a child's special bond with their male parent. It signifies love and respect and shows appreciation for his role in their life. But the title works both ways. The term dad reminds fathers of the responsibility to guide and protect their kids.
The importance of the unique role dads play in their kids’ lives is why a father named Steve was upset with his wife for repeatedly using his first name when referring to him with their preteen children.
The father vented about the situation and asked if he was wrong in a Reddit post with over 10,000 responses.
“My wife recently started using my first name when referring to me to our preteen kids, as in ‘Steve's gonna pick you up from school tomorrow,’” the father wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum. “I asked her not to when I first heard it, saying I don't really like when you use my first name to the kids. Can you say ‘your dad’ or ‘dad’?”
The mother initially replied, “Steve is your name, I don’t see the problem,” but later came to his way of thinking. The problem for Steve was that she didn’t stop the habit altogether. She continued to refer to him as Steve and after he brought it up again, she gave a relatively weak apology.
“It's totally subconscious. It's not like I mean to,” the wife responded. “You're probably going to have to remind me again like 50 times.”
The husband was upset that he got such a wishy-washy response to his request. “That's not really acceptable,” he told her. “If you hear me and respect my wishes, it doesn't need an excuse or hedging; you can just say OK.” The wife got upset and doubled down, saying she “can't control” referring to him by his first name while talking to the children. He ended the conversation by saying he’s “sure” she will “try” to stop but feels sure the issue will crop up again.
Is he wrong to have a problem with his wife referring to him as Steve in front of their kids?
“She's spent all this time referring to you as ‘dad,’ but now it's Steve and she says it's subconscious and she can't help it? That's not how people's brains work. I get that it's now a habit, and perhaps it is very hard for her to remember, but that does not explain why she started in the first place," godsonlyprophet responded to the post.
Some saw something nefarious about the mother's behavior.
“My immediate reaction is she is distancing herself from you and trying to lessen/remove you from co-parenting. That something is definitely not right here,” Airable_Sun_5891 wrote.
Some people said he should give his wife a break.
"It is completely natural to momentarily slip up and not call you by your title of ‘dad’ and call you by your given name. You’re lucky she didn’t call you by another family member’s name because have you heard of the phenomenon where we mix up the names of people we love," Expensive-Lie1127 wrote.
The overall thoughts of the commenters were that the wife should do her best to refer to Steve as the dad in front of the kids because that is the title he prefers. It shows respect as a co-parent and spouse and is an excellent example for the kids. Respect is the foundation of a good marriage; when it starts to wane, it can open up a complex set of problems.
Wow... just wow.
You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."
But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.
(Get your mind outta the gutter.)
OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!
Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick
Image from Wikimedia Commons.
Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.
It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.
There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.
A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.
In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"
And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.
Tail in the water.
Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube
And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.
What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)
Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.
Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?
This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.
GIF via National Geographic.
This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.
Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).
Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?
Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.
GIF via Jaimen Hudson.
Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.
We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.
In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.
This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.
And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?
Image from Pixabay.
Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.
If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.
I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.
This article originally appeared on 11.04.15
"You almost lost her. She stopped breathing for a while there."
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what if what your eyes behold is objectively...not good? In what appears to be a creative way to spend quality time together for a married couple, things go hilariously wrong. Ted Slaughter, uploaded a video to his TikTok page of an activity he and his wife did together.
Slaughter's wife seems to be holding the phone so you can clearly see what appears to be a painting of Slaughter, who is sitting at the other end of the table in front of an easel. The text overlay on the video says, "husband and wife paint portraits of each other (gone wrong). But what could possibly be wrong, sure his wife's attempt isn't art gallery ready just yet but it's not bad.
Based on the critiques the man had of his wife's painting, surely his looks much closer to professional level work. Right?...Right?
Slaughter starts off strong after viewing his wife's artwork, "that's awesome," then come the minor critiques. "I mean, I'm a little elfish around the eyes," to which his wife laughs, "I know you are not critiquing this right now."
After a few giggles between the two, it was time for the big reveal. The impromptu art critic turns his painting around to reveal his work of art to his unprepared wife and it's...something. It's so much of something that his wife nearly stops breathing. You hear her off camera take in a breath to laugh but nothing comes out for what seems like a good 60 seconds before the sound of her laughter catches up. Commenters also had some thoughts.
"He said Elflish then showed you a gremlin lol," one person writes.
"One portrait is of Picasso. The other portrait is of Beetlejuice,: someone else says.
"I was wheezing with you. You paint a majestic elf and he gives you an orc," another laughs.
The portrait is something words cannot describe. You must see it for yourself below:
My wife and I painted portraits of each other… what could go wrong? #painting #portrait #funny #laugh #fyp #viral #husbandwife
My mother died from ovarian cancer when I was a young child.
I'm in my late 30s now, and I'm still navigating this loss as I move through life. I've lived most of my life without my mother at this point, but I still miss her.
Here are three things I've learned since losing Mam:
1. Grief is not linear and is not solely expressed through tears.
Someone you love has been taken away from you, and your heart has broken into pieces. It's natural to grieve, but we all grieve differently. Grief shows up in anger, sorrow, guilt, fear, and sometimes peace. It is unpredictable and, at times, exhausting.
I cried when my mother died, and I cried at her funeral when my school choir sang "Be Not Afraid." I didn't cry much in the immediate years that followed — not directly as a result of Mam's death, but probably indirectly related to it. I certainly felt fear and anger and other emotions related directly to my loss.
Then sadness hit me like a ton of bricks one day when I was in my early 20s. A compassionate friend asked me about Mam, and as I hadn't spoken about her to anyone outside the family, I broke down. It was a good release. The years have brought many stages of grieving.
Mother's Day is never easy. Shopping for my wedding dress without my mother brought up intense feelings of loss. And sometimes it just hits me hard, on a regular day, yanking me out of my pleasant thoughts. A mother in a dressing room with her daughter, and they're trying on clothes together, admiring how the other looks. The mother telling the daughter how beautiful she is.
Or a friend of mine, meeting her mother for lunch and Ican't even imagine what that would be like! I can't even fathom the amazing joy of having lunch right now with Mam! And then I get that heaviness in my chest and my stomach feels bad.
There's no closure. My grieving stems from having loved so deeply. I have learned to tune into the emotions I'm feeling and to acknowledge the love, the pain, and the loss.
2. There are no replacements.
Nobody can replace your mother. We love our mothers in our own individual ways. Our mothers care for us when we're sick, guide us in life the best ways they can, listen to us, and love us unconditionally.
For a mother, her child is always her first priority. And we sense this. We feel it. We know it, even if she doesn't say it.
I was told that she called me her little angel.
Photo provided by author Carmel Breath.
My mother was beyond happy when I was born a healthy baby girl. I was told that she called me her little angel. She carried me in her womb for nine months.
By the time I was born, we had that unbreakable bond, and she knew me from that first second of my existence. There's never going to be a replacement for that person who loved me probably more than she loved herself. The joy in her eyes when she saw me, the warmth of her arms wrapped around me, the pain in her eyes when she had to say goodbye are all ways that I remember the deep love she had for me.
Mam prepared lunches for me every day to take to school, named muffins after me because they were my favorite, and surprised me with the best doll she could find when I was a few years old. She repaired my soft toys when they tore, taught me to have manners and sit up straight, wiped my eyes when I cried and my nose when I was sick.
Today I look for certain qualities in people. I look for a warmth, a radiance, a compassion and kindness that Mam had. I look for humor, a voice of sense, and strength of character. These are traits that my mother had. I find some of them in others.
But it's never the same. There'll never be another Mam. She's irreplaceable on so many levels.
3. There are other people who will love you and other people for you to love.
Family members and friends will love you. They might not know exactly what your needs are or how to address them, but it's worth reaching out to them. People struggle with different things.
Perhaps family members cannot love you or be there for you, and we may have to look around, let go, and reach further than we might want to in order to find the people who really love us, but there is someone out there to love you, and there's someone in need of your love.
I was blessed with the kindest, most devoted father who gave my brother and me all the love and care we needed. My dad is a gem in my life. He calls me to hear my news and to share his. He worries when I'm not feeling good and is overjoyed when I'm happiest. He listens to my concerns and trusts me to make the right decisions.
My dad has helped me so much in dealing with my loss, through caring for me and loving me unconditionally. I have the most wonderful fiancé who loves me to no end. And I've friends in my life who I know truly care about me.
I've been blessed with a lovely family, but it doesn't mean that I don't reach out to others. I've reconnected with old friends after years of distance. I've discovered things I have in common with others and opened up to new friendships.
Having people to love is truly healing. I was a kindergarten teacher for 10 years. I loved the children in my care, and they showed me so much love in return. By spreading love, we invite more love into our lives. Try volunteering or working in a school or a hospital. There are people everywhere in need of love.
Our world is so big and yet so small now in this age of technology. We can reach out to others across continents.
Our mothers were the first to show us the true meaning of love. In honor of our mothers, let's spread that love wherever we can.
This article was written by Carmel Breathnach and originally appeared on March 5, 2017
The 3,000-word letter was written on the back of a mirror.
On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.
After removing the mirror from the wall, Dean discovered a 3,000-word letter written all the way down its backside in black pen. "She never mentioned it, but it's the kind of thing she'd do," her father told People magazine. "She was a very spiritual person, she'd go on about stuff that I could never understand – she was so clever." The moving letter revealed her deepest feelings about her fight with the dreaded disease. "Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day," she wrote. "Life is only bad if you make it bad."
Although Athena is gone, the mirror now serves as a powerful memory of her undying spirit. "We're keeping the mirror forever, it is a part of her we can keep in the house, it will always be in her room," her mother, Caroline, said. "Just reading her words felt like she was still here with us, she had such an incredible spirit."
Athena's full message:
"Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it's not about the happy ending, maybe it's about the story. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young. You know my name, not my story.
You have heard what I've done, but not what I've been through. Love is like glass, looks so lovely but it's easy to shatter.
Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change. Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad. If someone loves you, then they wouldn't let you slip away no matter how hard the situation is. Remember that life is full of ups and downs.
Never give up on something you can't go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!
Love is not about how much you say I love you – it's about how much you can prove it's true. Love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can't see it. I'm waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to. Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it's about who you can't see spending your life without… Life is a game for everyone but love is the prize. Only I can judge me.
Sometimes love hurts. Now I'm fighting myself. Baby I can feel your pain. Dreams are my reality. It hurts but it's okay, I'm used to it. Don't be quick to judge me, you only see what I choose to show you… you don't know the truth. I just want to have fun and be happy without being judged.
This is my life, not yours, don't worry about what I do. People gonna hate you, rate you, break you, but how strong you stand, that's what makes you… you!
There's no need to cry because I know you'll be by my side."
This article originally appeared on 04.15.19
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