(My father Joe McCray and my mother Mavis Jackson: Design by Carlos Muhammad)
By Jesse Muhammad
I know you’re preparing for your New Year’s Eve party and making a mile-long list of resolutions that you may or may not keep. I hope that you will have the resolve to make them reality.
During this last month of 2009, I took the time to reflect on what successes I have had and what mistakes I have endured or still enduring. Yet out of all of the moments I have had, nothing touches me more nor brings tears to my eyes than the moment I found out who my biological father is.
Or should I say was….it depends on how you look at it. Pause….sigh...…it’s hard to blog about this.
Ok, I can do this.
If you have been following me closely this year on my blog, Facebook or Twitter, you read as I embarked upon a hard journey starting back on September 4, the 31st anniversary of my birth. I publicly made a decision to find out who my true biological father is/was. I didn’t really know how to do it so I reached out to people and they helped me map it out. (You know who you are)
But Allah (God) maneuvered things in such a way that I got some information within three days. I grew up thinking that a certain man, Earl Rideaux, was my father because my mother thought so too. However in the dawn of this now passing decade, in 2001, my mother shared with me she didn’t really know who the father was because she was in between relationships. So it was either the living Earl Rideaux or the deceased Joe McCray.
Whoa. I didn’t take it too well. I went mute on the subject. I never discussed it further with her. Matter of fact, my pent up anger of “I don’t need him anyway” attitude served as my mental refuge…my closet…my cover.
Or even my excuse not to want to know the truth. Dang, why she didn’t tell me after all these years? I didn’t have a need to dwell on that. I moved on.
I thought I did.
Well in 2009 I could no longer suppress it. I was tired of sitting and getting watery eyes as I watched fathers with their sons. I was tired of acting like this wasn’t impacting me. I was tired of seeing a movie wherein a father unites with his son and tears flow inside of me.
Real men don’t cry, right? Real men don’t show hurt feelings, right? Man, please. That doesn’t strip you of your manhood. I had to learn that.
So, with a strong prayer and my mother’s permission I went public with my intentions on GlobalGrind.com. The article struck a nerve across all races, classes and creeds. I needed the support network just in case my “I don’t need him anyway” attitude got the best of me again.
Then it happened so fast.
On September 7, I found myself meeting the daughters of Earl Rideaux for the first time. They believed I was their long lost big brother and they had heard so much about me. I wanted to be their brother. Then a week later on September 13, I talked to Earl on the phone extensively about getting a DNA test to see if he was truly my biological father. He agreed.
Four days later, my mother and I went to pick him up for the DNA test on September 17. He was confident I was his son. I wasn’t sure but I was praying it would be him. Because he was alive, I could have a chance to build a father-son relationship.
Then on September 22 the results came in. It was a 0% probability. Earl Rideaux is not my biological father. He was hurt. So was I and I cried inwardly with a smile of disbelief. I will forever call Earl Rideaux a true man who stepped up to the plate. Many who call themselves men may have never taken that test. I will forever consider him and his girls my family.
It was done.
At the close of this decade I found out who my biological father was. This brought closure for my mother and opened up a new chapter in the life of Brother Jesse. I still had moments this past month where my eyes got watery about the reality that the man that God used to give me life is gone.
Until I remember he lives through me. “Get it together Brother Jesse”, I tell myself.
I’m not into making New Year’s resolutions from my lips that are not in my heart. But for 2010 I know have the challenge of finding someone in my real father’s family tree. Nobody in my family has any connection to them. Many of you suggested I get his death certificate, use Ancestry.com, etc. I have taken your suggestions and I am moving out on them.
It’s a journey I am prepared to embark upon.
If you have been wondering about doing the same thing, I say again, go for it. It won’t be easy.
Matter of fact I’m shedding a tear now……2010 here we come.
Updates #1-3 In Search of My Father Series: Meeting with four out of the five daughters Earl has in Houston
My Biological Father Search Update #4: Earl agrees to take a DNA test....one step closer
My Father Search Update: Ladies and Gentlemen...Meet Earl Rideaux. Is he my father?
My Father Search Update: The DNA Results are in.....Earl Rideaux is not my biological father. Joe McCray is.
EXCLUSIVE Global Grind Blog: 31 yrs later.....Can GG help me find my father?