This Road I’m On Is A Broken Road


Jimmy, Suzanne, and Madeline Gunter, circa 1966.  My mother is expecting my twin brothers in this photo.

This Road I’m On Is A Broken Road

Please overlook the multitude of typos that are bound to be in this post.

Over the last week or so, I have mentioned wanting to know WHO I am.  I know that several of you are wondering what has me in such a state of confusion right now, so please prepare yourself for more than a moment of crazy here.

Some time back, I had my DNA tested at, to help further my family tree research. Not too long ago, my sister did the same thing, also through Ancestry.  One day, I opened up the DNA page there to see my sister staring back at me as a DNA match. Nothing unusual there…or, it shouldn’t have been.

What it said under her name threw me for a loop: Half-sister….

I shared this information with David and we decided not to say anything to her, to just wait and see if she said anything about it.   And, we waited.

On 5 December 2018, she emailed me and asked if I saw that it said we were half-sisters.

We both know that we are the children of the same mother. So, this just left us to try to figure out who belongs to Daddy and who doesn’t.   She’s the one with his family members showing up as DNA matches. I don’t have any of them in my match lists. NONE.

This has been like losing my Daddy all over again.  He passed away back in December 2012. David and Daddy were in the hospital, both on death’s door, at the same time.  I couldn’t be both places at once and didn’t have the means to go back to South Carolina to see Daddy. He died back home in South Carolina, and a big part of me died here in Texas that day. And now, to find out after all this time, that he is very likely not my biological father is devastating. I’ve lost him all over again.

It gets even worse.  Much worse. My mother was repeatedly victim of a particularly disgusting type of abuse in her teenage years, into her early 20s.  My sister brought up the possibility that I was born of such an unholy union. If this line of thinking plays out – and I hope it does not! – it would mean that my mother and I are half-sisters.   I cannot bear this thought. I already want to drain every ounce of blood out of myself. This would explain why my mother never seemed to love me, why I never measured up in her eyes.

There are other possibilities.  Neither of my parents were faithful spouses.  Being born of adultery, although not ideal, would be much easier to handle than what my sister has supposed.

Our mother has just been in the hospital due to pneumonia. She is home now, but neither of us want to give her a heart attack by laying this on her.  We are trying to investigate things on our own, minimizing questions we’re asking of her, otherwise she’ll wonder what’s going on. I don’t want to upset her.  I DO want to know the circumstances of my creation, at least who my father actually is.

The gross could be ruled out if Mama has a DNA test. If we share a father, we will have a 100% half-match on the X-chromosome because daughters get 100% of their father’s X-chromosome (that he got from his mother) unchanged, in addition to the X they get from their mother.  Full sisters, and half-sisters with the same father, match like that.  Please pray that we can raise the money for this DNA test for Mama and that she will agree to take it.

Daddy will always be my daddy. DNA will not change who loved, raised, and sacrificed for me. He was not a perfect man, none of us are perfect. He has some significant flaws. Domestic violence ruled my childhood.  But, he also had very loving moments and he loved me.

So, this is where I’ve been for much of December, falling headlong into the cobra pit of depression, disgust, and “who am I?”  I cannot express the depth of my feelings right now. Not a day has gone by since that day without me bawling my eyes out. I can’t think of any of this without crying.  I can’t look at family pictures without crying and, depending on who is in the picture, being enraged and puking.

Genealogy work has been my passion since I was about 14 years old.  I’ve been very close to hanging up the “Retired Genealogist” sign. But, how I can stop now? There are so many answers that I need to find.

Ideally, I will find them before I totally lose it.  I am so close to that right now, most of the time I can’t even speak in coherent sentences or write them either. And every moment of speaking is punctuated with tears.

Thank you for reading through this pile of “stuff”.  Thank you for any prayers that you may send up for me and my family right now.

Have a blessed weekend and a very Merry Christmas.


About Suzanne Gunter McClendon

I am a South Carolina native, but have been living on the Texas Gulf Coast for 14 years now. David and I have been married for 34 years. Our children are grown. Some are here at home, others are out in the big world doing their "thing". I enjoy genealogy, reading, writing, photography, digital art, fiber arts, cooking and much, much more.
This entry was posted in 2018, AncestryDNA, December, DNA, Family History, Genealogy, Genetic Testing, Grief, Mental Health, Prayer Requests. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to This Road I’m On Is A Broken Road

  1. We will get to the bottom of this together. I love you, my Zing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Comedy Plus says:

    And knowing all the answers will change what in your life? I’m not thinking very much if you don’t allow it to. I would get together with sis and have a talk with mom when she feels better. She surely has the answers. It also appears you need to know those answers.

    Have a fabulous day and a very Merry Christmas. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Sandee. It won’t change how I feel about my daddy. My feelings about my grandpa, well, that is another thing entirely. What I’ve learned over the last month makes me wish I could erase him from the family tree and bloodline. I try not to hate anyone, but I very much hate what was done to my mother.

      I already know that my cousins on my daddy’s side and my aunt, his baby sister, still consider me family. We were raised as such and will always be such.

      It will, however, change my genetic family tree, and research focus, at least to a degree.

      My mother and I have never had a good relationship. She has never acted like she loved me and openly blamed me for the poor choices in her life. (I made an brief addition to the post).

      I am trying not to lack compassion for my mother. She may have the answers, but she may also have no clue who my father is, just who he could be. She is showing some signs of dementia. My sister says that Mama has memory issues. Mama herself admitted to David that she can’t remember things and is worried about cooking anymore because she forgets about the stove. I don’t want to drive her over the edge. We’re a thousand miles apart, with me in Texas and her in South Carolina. So many things are complicated here.

      Thank you for your friendship and encouragement through this. {{{Hugs}}}

      Have a blessed day and a very Merry Christmas. ♥


  3. catladymacm says:

    Please, please remember that YOU are YOU. Wat you have grown to be will not be changed by this. The man who raised you is, for all practical purposes, your “real” father. Your sister IS your sister .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. foguth says:

    Suzanne, I’m sorry you’ve had such an unwanted surprise, but please don’t allow this to be the single most important thing in your life. Perhaps your beloved father isn’t biologically related to you, but for all things that were important, he was – and should always be – viewed as your dad. After all, he chose that roll and presumably did a fine job. (And IMHO, that is far more important than the sperm-donor.)
    IMHO, the only reason I would need to know who my parents were would be to discover medical histories. For instance, my mom died from cancer / my father had heart issues, thus I tend to keep alert for symptoms, cures, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vanessence says:

    Who are you, Suzanne? You are, first and foremost, a child of God, daughter of the King. He who formed you in your mother’s womb and knew you before you were born. Don’t forget that! Cling to that! HE had plans for you, and loved you, REGARDLESS of who your biological parents may or may not have been. And don’t forget, Jesus was raised by a man who was not His biological father, either.

    Your beginnings had nothing to do with you. Your family is still your family, and your loved ones are still loved ones. Your life is still your life, and that wouldn’t change whether you had this information or not.

    You may gain understanding of some things, like the way your mother apparently treated you, but nothing else in your life needs to change. You are still YOU, and your life is still your own.

    Keeping you in my prayers.
    xoxox *hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Vanessa. {{{Hugs}}} I am trying desperately to hold onto the fact that I am a daughter of the King. My Heavenly Father is the only Father that I truly need.

      But, I also know that I will lose all semblance of sanity if I don’t find out who my earthly father is. I know who my daddy is. He is, was, and will always be Jimmy Ray Gunter, the man in the photo with me and Mama.

      I have never been good with the unknown or with change or with secrets either, really. This whole ordeal is loaded with all three.

      My life is still my own….I like that thought. Thank you for the encouragement and your friendship and for the prayers. {{{Hugs}}} ❤

      Have a blessed night and a very Merry Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vanessence says:

        No, secrets and the unknown are never fun, I agree.

        I was thinking though, if you were born more than 9 mos after your parents married, the odds of your being a child of adultery are higher than being your mother’s half-sister. That kind of abuse tends to stop once the daughter gets married and leaves home.

        And it sounds like your father always thought of you as his daughter. If he knew you weren’t biologically his, apparently he didn’t care.

        Hopefully, you’ll be able to talk with your mother, and she will be willing and able to shed some light on this mystery.

        I’m so sorry you’re going through this. 😦 *hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        • They were married December 7 and I was born the following August 18. I was a 6 pound 2 ounce preemie, due to be born in mid-September. My mother and aunt were out walking. Both were pregnant at the time. Mama fell into a hole and went into labor.

          Mama told me years ago that she thought she was pregnant and that’s why they got married. However, the numbers don’t add up for her to have been pregnant before she was married, if I was indeed a preemie as she said.

          From what my sister said, Mama was attacked by him when she was 20 and she was 20 when she got married. We do not know if it was before or after her marriage. We do know that, at some point, my parents, me, and my brothers lived with my grandparents. We just do not know if my parents started living with them before I was conceived or not.

          According to David, my daddy thought the moon and sun rose and set in me. He is also sure that Daddy thought that I was his child, and never even gave a thought to the possibility that I wasn’t.

          Thank you for helping me to work through this. This is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to process.

          {{{Hugs}}} Have a blessed night.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a lot to deal with. Please don’t forget that there a people who love you no matter what…
    Have a Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Viola. I appreciate that very much and am trying to hold onto that thought.

      If it weren’t for those people who do love me, I wouldn’t still be here. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this tonight. I would have gone completely under when my sister made the suggestion that she made about my parentage.

      Thank you again. I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas, too. {{{Hugs}}}

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear sweet, beautiful Sis. I’ve already said it privately, but I will say it again: None of this changes the beautiful creation of God you are. I can’t imagine how painful this must be for you, but I beg you to try hard not to allow the Enemy to gain one more ounce of pleasure from hurting you. You are worth so much more than DNA results, or even sins that were committed in your family line. I am so deeply sorry you are dealing with this.

    Something else that occurred to me as I read this is the fact that you have been so deeply driven to explore your ancestry. I don’t believe for a minute that Abba would have allowed you that passion and drive without a purposeful–albeit very difficult-to-process–reason and plan to use it for your and/or perhaps others’ good. I believe with my whole heart that Abba will redeem every tear you have shed over this, and every tear shed by others over the years in relation to what you have discovered.

    I am praying over you right now as you seek further clarification. Please allow our amazing God to comfort you as only He can, and please allow those of us who love and cherish you to be your support during this confusing and vexing time in your life. I love you. We love you. Most of all, Abba loves you without limitation forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love you, too, Sis. Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and love over the years, and most especially at this time.

      I can’t imagine, at the moment, what good or glory could possibly come from those sins, but I know that Heavenly Father can bring beauty from ashes, good from the bad. I will hold onto that thought as I seek further answers and the truth.

      A part of a verse in Esther keeps going through my mind as I ponder all of these things: “…and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

      I know that there is a reason for this, for why I am at this point. I don’t know why, but I know there is a reason and He will somehow bring good from all of this.

      Thank you, Sis, for everything. You are such a blessing to me. {{{Hugs}}}


  8. Pingback: A Little Less Broken Road | McClendon Villa

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