Grief gives way to joy: the extraordinary tale of how a daughter finally came to know her mother

This is really something: the story of a woman who never got to see her birth mother, until she went to her wake. 

From the Buffalo News:

  When Jackie Oddo came downstairs on the morning of Dec. 13, she noticed that her husband seemed oddly quiet and still as he read The Buffalo News in the kitchen of their Town of Tonawanda home.

“What are you looking at?” she asked.

Bart Oddo walked over to his wife and laid the obituary section in front of her.

“Oh my God,” Jackie Oddo said, thunderstruck by what she saw.

“Marsha L. Straubinger, artist, dedicated volunteer. Aug. 17, 1942 — Dec. 11, 2011,” the obit read.

It was Oddo’s birth mother. The woman who had given her up for adoption on a cold December day at a Buffalo hospital 50 years ago. The woman Jackie Oddo had reached out to but never got a chance to meet in person.

“Oh my God,” Jackie Oddo recalled she kept saying.

“I was like … I just couldn’t function,” she recounted.

Oddo realized that she had to go to the wake. She needed to meet the people who knew this woman whom she herself had never gotten a chance to get to know.

“This was my only opportunity to find out anything now,” she thought. “I had to take that step and do it.”

Read more, including how she discovered her mother’s identity — and what happened when she went to the wake.  It’s just beautiful.

Comments

  1. ron chandonia says:

    Closed adoptions were designed to “protect” both birth mothers and adopted children but instead served to keep both from the joy this woman found only after her birth mom’s death. Today, fortunately, adoptions in America today are more typically open, but some prospective adoptive parents still resist the notion–even to the point of preferring a foreign adoption which will allow their children no realistic prospect of ever locating their biological parents. As the adoptive dad of a wonderful daughter whose birth-mom allowed us to make her part of our family, I find that attitude short-sighted and cruel.

  2. You know what’s amazing about that story in today’s cynical world? That the family didn’t buckle down and fend her off in fear that she was there to collect on the estate. That instead, they gave her pieces of her mother, and of themselves. What a beautiful story.

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