Being separated from the love of your life is never easy. When you’ve spent years devoting yourself to one person, it’s hard to know what to do with yourself when they’re no longer around. Do you move on or stay faithful to their memory. Tony Trapani couldn’t imagine being with anyone else after his wife of 50 years passed away. They’d been in each other’s lives for so long that it was hard to remember a time when they weren’t together. Now that she was gone, all Tony had left of her was their memories and the things they’d collected over the years. Little did he realize how significant this would be to his future.
It’s never easy to go through someone’s belongings after they’ve passed away. All it does is remind you of the person you lost, which makes it hard to get the job done. It has to be done at some point, though. Otherwise, it will continue to upset you every time you see their stuff still lying around.
You’re never truly sure what you’re going to find when you go through another person’s things. Even people that you thought you knew inside out can have secrets that only come to life once you do some digging. If they’ve hidden something, then it’s safe to assume that they never wanted you to find out about it. However, while they might have taken the secret with them to the grave, they left the evidence behind.
Tony couldn’t believe it when he stumbled across something in his wife’s belongings that he’d never noticed before. It was a 50-year-old letter addressed to him that he’d never opened, but why? His wife had hidden it from him for all these years so he wouldn’t discover what was inside, and for good reason.
Losing his wife
Tony Trapani had never shared a love with anyone like his wife. The two had been together for over 50 years, which accounted for most of his life. After being a couple for so long, it’s understandable why being separated would devastate Tony. Sadly, after his wife passed away, he had to accept that he’d no longer have his companion by his side to share more memories together. Following her death, Tony decided to go through her things and see what was worth keeping. That’s when he found the letter.
Tony never expected to find any surprises while going through his wife’s possessions. However, as he went through, he came across a handwritten letter dated all the way back to 1959. Tony realized that his wife had been hiding it from him for almost the entirety of their relationship and he didn’t know what to think. He was incredibly curious to find out what was inside, especially if it was information that his other half had deemed inappropriate for him to see. Without waiting, he opened the letter.
Unable to conceive
Although they’d been together for over half a century, something was missing in the Trapani’s lives. The two had never had children together, despite desiring to do so for many years. They tried for a long time to bring a little one into their lives, but they eventually discovered that it wouldn’t be possible for them. Tony’s wife couldn’t conceive, leaving the couple without the option to have a child together naturally. It devastated them, especially as it was all they wanted for so long.
New age techniques
Nowadays, young couples who are in the same situation have a lot more options available to them. In vitro fertilization wasn’t around when Tony and his partner got together, as it wasn’t created until the late ‘70s. Even though Tony’s wife couldn’t conceive, it would have been possible for her eggs to be combined with his seminal fluid in a laboratory, before being injected into the body. The technique doesn’t have the highest success rate, but it would have given the couple another chance at happiness.
Discovering the letter
Although the pair couldn’t have children, that didn’t destroy their relationship. The two loved each other so much that they simply came to terms with their loss for the sake of their marriage. However, that doesn’t mean that either party ever forgot about their desire to have a child. Tony still thought about it regularly, particularly after he discovered the letter his wife had hidden away in a cabinet. Tony had actually missed the envelope on first inspection, only finding it when he returned to the cabinet for another reason.
When Tony found the letter, it was still in the envelope it’d been sent in. It showed signs of age, but that was to be expected after hiding away for so many years. The letter was addressed to Tony’s Michigan address, yet he’d never seen it before. If it had been sent to him, how had he never gotten his hands on it before? The only thing that he could think of was that his wife had intercepted it before he’d been able to read its contents, but why?
An unexpected writer
Within the first few lines of the letter, Tony realized why his wife might have wanted to keep it from him. It had been written from someone he’d been with before the two of them had gotten married. Reading the words “I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights,” could have easily upset his wife. After all, we’re all susceptible to the green-eyed monster every so often. However, as Tony continued reading, he realized just why his wife had kept the letter from him.
In the following paragraph, everything became clear. The mystery author revealed that she was a mother to a five-year-old boy who she described as having “gray eyes and beautiful black hair.” Although this alone meant nothing to Tony, he soon discovered why she was telling him this. “Tony, he is your son.” Those words completely blew the man’s mind. After so many years of wanting a child, it looked like his wish had finally been granted, but not in the way that he’d expected.
Come and visit
The letter closed out by asking Tony to visit so he could be a father to their child. His former girlfriend wrote that the boy asks for his dad every day, and she no longer knows how to answer his questions. As he reached the end, Tony didn’t know what to do with himself. The revelation had completely thrown him off, and there were so many questions going through his mind. Was he really this boy’s father? Why had his wife kept the secret from him for so long?
Concealing the truth
Tony’s wife could have easily disposed of the letter when she’d intercepted it. However, rather than throwing away any chance he had of becoming a father, she held onto it. Although she might not have wanted her husband to raise a child with another woman, especially if she herself couldn’t have kids, she loved her partner too much to hurt him completely. So, she kept the letter in her possession but stayed silent about its existence for decades, eventually taking the secret to her grave.
Setting things straight
Tony didn’t know how to feel about everything. It was clear his wife had opened the letter, read its contents, and subsequently decided to keep it a secret. However, he couldn’t bring himself to be mad at her. After all, she wasn’t around anymore to defend herself. That didn’t mean that he was just going to forget everything the letter told him, though. There was a chance that he had a son out there, one who had grown up believing his father didn’t love him. He had to find him.
Tracking them down
There wasn’t much for Tony to go on regarding finding his son, but he had all the information he needed. The author of the letter had provided both her and her child’s name, which meant that tracking her down online shouldn’t be too difficult. The man was still confused about everything, but he knew this was something that he needed to do. He’d spent so many years hoping for a child, so he couldn’t just turn his back on one that might actually be his.
Searching for his son
The woman that wrote the letter was Shirley Childress and was someone that Tony had dated before his marriage. Their relationship had never been anything like the one he’d shared with his wife, but it was clearly strong enough that he potentially fathered a child with her. Shirley wrote that her kid’s name was Samuel Duane, and Tony used that information to track down his son online. This is where social media proved to be useful because if Samuel was on there, there was a better chance of finding him.
It’s never been easier to find someone online. With billions of people around the world using social media and sharing all sorts of personal information about themselves, it’s easy to become your own private investigator. From small stuff like name and date of birth to more personal information like phone numbers and addresses, there’s very little you can’t find out online if you dig deep enough. Although that’s concerning for a lot of people, it meant that Tony had an easier job of searching for his son.
Yearning for a father
Samuel grew up without his father around. That can significantly shape a child’s life, and Samuel spent a lot of time asking his mom about who his father was. He’d question her about what he was like and what he’d look like, to which Shirley would respond that he should look in the mirror. Although he’d spent so many years wanting to know his father and never finding out the truth, that didn’t stop him holding onto hope. One day he’d meet the man who brought him into the world.
However, that doesn’t mean that Samuel’s opinion of his father was a positive one. He’d been aware of the letter that his mother had sent to Tony in the ‘50s, so when it received no response, he assumed it was because his father wanted nothing to do with him. As a result, he grew up believing that his father didn’t care for him, unaware that Tony hadn’t even known the letter existed. Although he harbored a lot of resentment towards the man, would that go away if the two met?
When he was old enough to go searching for his father, Samuel didn’t know where to start. While it might be easy to track people down now, social media wasn’t around back then. Finding his father wasn’t an easy task, and soon enough he resigned himself to the fact that they’d never meet each other. However, that all changed when his wife received an unexpected message from one Arlene Schulte, Tony’s sister. Once the situation was explained, it looked like everything was finally fitting together.
The two finally set eyes on each other in January 2015. Samuel had spent 63 years pondering the identity of his father and wondering why he didn’t want to know him, and now he had his answers. Unsurprisingly, the reunion was an emotional one, with Tony and Samuel both overwhelmed for different reasons. For Tony, he never imagined he’d have a child, yet here was one standing in front of him. As for his son, he never thought his father would love him, but now he knew the truth.
A future together
Meeting each other changed both Tony and Samuel’s lives forever. The 63-year-old had the closure he’d longed for, and he knew now that things would have been very different if his father had been aware of his existence. Tony was even more emotional than his son, because he’d almost gone his whole life without feeling the love of a father for his child. The opportunity to build a relationship with his son was in front of him, and he couldn’t wait for their future together.
Making up for lost time
Although Tony was overjoyed to have met his son, he couldn’t believe how much of the man’s life he’d missed out on. At 81 years old, he had no idea how much time he had left in the world, and it upset him that it had taken so long to discover he was a father. He couldn’t comprehend what had driven his wife to keep such a big secret from him when she knew how much he longed to have a child. At least everything worked out in the end.
Emotions were running incredibly high during that first meeting, and neither knew how to keep them in check. It was only recently that Tony had discovered he was a father, and now his son was sitting before him as a fully grown man. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with, let alone someone who’s spent their whole life thinking they were childless. Tony referred to the feeling as being that of a parent discovering they have a newborn son because, in a way, that’s what he was going through.
Proving their relationship
However, although the pair felt an immediate bond together, they were hesitant to base everything on the words of a 50-year-old letter. There was no way of knowing for sure that Tony truly was Samuel’s father based on what Shirley had said alone. So, the two decided to take a paternity test, the results of which came back two weeks later. The pair spent that fortnight getting to know each other, unaware of what they were going to discover when the results came back in February 2015.
Testing their bond
It’s impossible to know what had made Shirley so certain that Tony was Samuel’s father. If he was the only man that she slept with at the time of her son’s conception, then the answer’s obvious. However, if she slept with anyone else around that time, then there was a chance that someone else could be Tony’s father. That’s why the two felt it was necessary to take a paternity test. Seeing as the opportunity was available to them now, they might as well make use of it.
Meeting the family
Tony met more than just Samuel when the father and son reconnected. Samuel had had children of his own over the years, eventually having three with his wife, Donna. They’d grown up never knowing a grandparent on their dad’s side, so getting to meet Tony was just as moving for them as it was their father. Although they were still waiting to get the test results back, Samuel’s family were sure that they’d found the right man. Donna said that the two of them were “one in the same.”
Identifying the father
Paternity tests are important to do when you aren’t sure of who a child’s father is. It’s easy enough to do, but the results can have far-reaching implications. All that’s involved is a cheek swab from both the dad and child, with the cells obtained from these then compared via genome sequencing. The results will either come back positive or negative, determining that a man is or isn’t the kid’s father. Tony and Samuel were naturally hoping that everything was going to come back positive for them.
Loss for words
Unfortunately, things weren’t meant to be. Despite everything pointing in one direction, the paternity tests revealed that Tony and Samuel weren’t actually related after all. Both were understandably devastated. Tony had been given the hope late in life that he had a child, only to be told that wasn’t the case shortly after. As for Samuel, he thought he’d finally found the closure that was over 60 years in the making, only to discover that his father was still out there somewhere. Neither man knew what to do with themselves.
Living a lie
Everything that Samuel had based his life on had been a lie. He’d grown up believing his father didn’t love him because he’d never responded to his mother’s letter. However, it turned out that she’d never sent it to the right man. He’d spent 63 years feeling resentful towards a man who wasn’t even his father. The paternity test left him questioning so much, especially because he’d been sure that Tony was his father. The test was only meant to confirm what they already knew. Instead, it had changed everything.
Although the paternity tests confirmed that Tony and Samuel weren’t actually father and son, that didn’t stop them from keeping in contact with each other. During those few weeks where they’d believed they were related, they struck up a bond that wasn’t easily broken. To the two of them, their genes didn’t mean anything. Tony had the child in his life he’d always wanted, and Samuel had the father figure that he’d been missing for years. Being related by blood wasn’t the be all and end all of their relationship.
His only father
The pair felt so passionately about each other that Samuel decided to call it quits on looking for his birth father. In his eyes, Tony was everything he wanted and needed his dad to be, so no-one else could ever take his place. Both still felt the connection to each other that had been there before the results came back, so there was no need to act as if things had changed. If they were happy with this setup, what reason did they have to live life any other way?
Maintaining the ruse
Other people have questioned the authenticity of their relationship, and whether it’s right that they should continue to stay together under the pretense of being father and son. These men are relying on each other for something that they’ve always wanted in their lives, even though they’re not actually related. However, both men are happy with the way that things are between them, and neither is willing to lose the closest thing they’ve had to a father or son in years.
No proper connection
One person who isn’t quite as supportive of the relationship is Arlene, Tony’s sister. Although she helped bring the two together, she did so when she believed that her brother and Samuel were related. Since the paternity test results came back, she’s been wary of the time the two spend together. She’s even said that the bond between the two isn’t as strong as they make it out to be, and that they rarely spend time alone together. Arlene has worried about the effect this relationship could have on Tony.
Scamming the elderly
A concern that Arlene had about Samuel was that he was trying to scam money out of her brother. It’s, unfortunately, a rather common thing for people to do when they’re low on funds and looking to make a quick buck. Older people are a lot more vulnerable, and more willing to let people into their lives that might not be trustworthy. Although Samuel denied all allegations against him, Arlene couldn’t shake the feeling that he was up to something unsavory in the hopes of exploiting Tony’s love and generosity.
Being each other’s rock
Despite the backlash they faced, nothing was going to stop Samuel and Tony from sticking together. They might not have been related by blood, but they didn’t see why that mattered. If they felt that their bond was strong enough to make them feel like they were father and son, then why should anyone else stand in their way? They weren’t hurting anyone by seeing each other, and it gave the pair the closure they needed. That’s why Samuel gave up searching for his father.
Standing between them
That hasn’t stopped Arlene from trying to stand in the way, though. She believes that their relationship is incredibly unhealthy because they’re pretending to be something they’re not. She finds it hard to trust Samuel, especially as he and Tony only believed they were related for a few weeks before the paternity test results came back. Although she wasn’t going to force Tony and Samuel to stop seeing each other, she would try everything in her power to convince her brother to cut ties with the man.
Losing someone special
Against Arlene’s wishes, Tony and Samuel continued to meet up, with the latter even making plans to move from his home in Pennsylvania closer to his “father” in Michigan. Unfortunately, it was as Samuel was making preparations to move house that he was hit by tragedy. In June 2015, his wife was taken ill and ended up in hospital, and she didn’t recover. She passed away during the night, leaving her husband heartbroken and unsure of what to do next. Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the devastation.
The domino effect
In March 2017, Samuel lost another important person in life – Tony. The man who had acted as his father figure for the last two years passed away peacefully, leaving Samuel once again heartbroken. The man had been there for him when he’d lost his wife, but now his rock was gone too. Even though they weren’t blood-related and some people didn’t support their relationship, Samuel and Tony had been nothing but close ever since they first met. They’d changed each other’s lives for the better.
Finding his place
Even though Tony was gone, Samuel still had no desire to track down his birth father. Tony had filled that role for the last two years, and to continue searching now would feel like a betrayal. It’s understandable why he would consider starting up the search again, though. As humans, we all want to know where we come from and what makes us the people that we are. We just want to fit in, and the best way to do that is to understand who brought us into the world.
A different life
Had Tony discovered the letter earlier than he did, it’s possible his life would have been hugely different. Paternity testing wasn’t around when Samuel was born, and the father and son might not have thought to check their DNA if they’d been together from the start. It’s hard to know how that would have affected his marriage though. According to Psychology Today, if someone’s first born is a son, they’re more likely to have a happy marriage. However, that likely only works if the parents are the ones that are married.
Without a father
Samuel’s life was entirely changed by growing up without a father. Even though he and Tony weren’t related by blood, if the man had responded to the letter and become a part of his life, it still would have had a significant impact. Children who grow up with only one parent have an increased risk of developing aggressive attributes and are more likely to display deviant behavior. Although Samuel still grew up to be a reasonable man, he harbored those feelings of betrayal from childhood all throughout his adult life.
An effective way to combat this potentially aggressive behavior is to enlist a child in one of the Big Brother or Big Sister programs. These provide kids with older mentors who essentially act like big siblings and fill the gap in their lives created by an absent parent. Many kids who are considered at risk have thrived in these programs, and have shown a significant decrease in school absences and deviancy. At least these children are getting the support that they don’t always get when they’re at home.