by Peggy Sweeney
Author’s Note: This is a story about my child who is estranged from his family.
In August of 1977, a baby was placed in my arms at Chicago’s O’Hara Airport. Just four and half months old, he arrived from Seoul, Korea. He was the second of two babies my husband and I adopted from Korea. His older sister, Jenny, along with friends and other family members greeted him with so much love and joy.
He and Jenny and later another daughter, Bethany, brought so much happiness into our lives. But for Tim, life was not easy. He struggled with his studies due to attention deficit disorder. But his smile would light up a room and he had many friends.
He wanted to be a chef and enrolled in the culinary arts three year program at the Opryland Hotel. Sadly, he did not complete the course. Lucky for him, though, he began to work for motion picture and television catering companies that provide meals and onsite catering for actors and crew. He LOVED his work. He met so many wonderful people and, I think, some of them loved his personality and charm also.
Over the years, Tim chose to distance himself from his family and friends. This last spell has been almost eight years. I don’t know why. I don’t know where he is. There were times that he was on drugs. I don’t know if he is well now and happy at work or living on the streets.
His dad, sisters and I try to keep a positive attitude. But the holidays are hell for me. I’ve told you that grief comes in many forms, it is not just about someone dying. It is also the longing to know where your child is. If he is safe and warm these winter days. To hear his voice. To see his smile and hear his laugh. To hear him say, “I love you, mom”.
My personal interpretation of the Prodigal Son story.
The son returns home empty-handed. To the son’s surprise, he is not scorned by his family but is welcomed back with celebration and fanfare.