Two different lives, one heartbreaking secret
When Phyllis Whitsell was just eight months old, her mother died of tuberculosis. At least, that what’s Phyllis grew up being told by her adoptive parents. But Phyllis never believed it was true. She prayed every night for God to take care of her birth mother, holding onto the hope that she was alive and out there, somewhere.
Finally, after years of searching, Phyllis finds her birth mother-Bridget, known locally as Tipperary Mary. But the loving reunion Phyllis had hoped for is complicated by a difficult past. The mother she discovers is a broken woman-a victim of early onset dementia, an alcoholic, and a woman crushed by years of missing the daughter she gave up.
Phyllis, by this time a community nurse with her own children, keeps the discovery from her family. She begins to care for Bridget-visiting her at home, buying her new clothes, tending to her maladies and giving her as much love as she can. All the while, Phyllis struggles with telling Bridget her true identity. And when she eventually introduces her son to his grandmother, Bridget doesn’t believe her. Bridget never fully understands that her tender new caregiver is the daughter she lost so long ago.
My Secret Mother is the extraordinary story of forgiveness and compassion, as a daughter’s search for her mother becomes a journey from abandonment into love.