Learning family secrets can be life changing. Sixty-year-old Valerie Spruill from Doylestown, Ohio, thought she had already discovered her fair share, and had no idea there would be more to come.
At age 9, Valerie learned that her mother and father were actually her grandparents. Her real mother, the young girl who visited often was her biological mother and also a prostitute. While angry and confused as a child, Valerie says she knows that her mother loved her (and her six siblings) and that giving her up to Valerie’s grandparents was one of the best things her mother could have done… a blessing in disguise. She says, “It’s not a shame to be given away. Most of the time it’s a blessing.”
However, the family secret that Valerie discovered six years ago nearly destroyed her.
Soon after her husband died, an uncle shared with Valerie that her deceased husband was her biological father.
Consider that. Her husband (who is dead and gone and can’t explain himself) had fathered Valerie. Through DNA tests, Valerie was able to confirm it was true.
Her father (and husband), Percy, had start dating Valerie’s mother when he was just 15 years old. Apparently everyone knew the truth except for Valerie. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Valerie was asked who else might have known that her father and husband were one in the same and she said, “Half of Akron.”
What has kept Valerie going despite the intense mental trauma from the situation as well as two stokes and a diabetic coma, believed to have largely been brought on by stress, is her faith.
It is a courageous thing for anyone to do: air their dirty laundry solely for the sake of helping others, but that’s exactly what Valerie hopes to do, “I want this to be more of an inspirational story. If I’ve come through this, anyone can come through anything through the help of the Lord.”
It’s not certain whether Percy knew he was marrying his daughter but Valerie tends to believe he did know but was afraid to tell her. She says she had become accustomed to whispers around the town and now it all makes sense why.
Valerie credits therapy to helping her get through this but she also says God saved her life and if it weren’t for her faith, she’d be lost:
“I know there’s a reason why I’m still living and it’s to tell this story. It needs to be told, because children need to know where they come from. And I know it hurts, because I have been devastated by this. It’s a miracle how God reveals and heals at the same time, and he gives you that blessing to keep on going. …If this old lady done come through all this, and God’s still got her here and still with a good heart — because you find so many mean, vicious people in the world, and you don’t have to be — you can love no matter what you’ve come through or where you’ve been in this world.”
Valerie also hopes that by sharing her story she can find her long lost siblings who were also given away and let them know that their mother loved them.
To think that so many of us hold grudges for trite things. Valerie’s story is a lesson in forgiveness and acceptance.
Do you think you would ever be able to come to terms with that news? Does your family hold secrets? When did you find them out?
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