Throughout the years, I have encountered so many people who have tried to fill certain voids in their lives with shopping, drugs, alcohol, expensive trips, affairs or amassing fortunes. I too have been guilty of trying to find ways to avoid the emptiness, which is created whenever we lose someone special to us either through a parting of ways or death. After such an event, it is natural to feel a hole in your heart, but rather than avoid the source of the pain, what we need to do is identify the problem and try to find a solution.

The one thing I always craved in life was having a family. When I got married and had my son, I thought I finally had it all. Little did I realize that as my son would grow, all the unresolved issues from my past buried deep inside me would rise to the surface and require my attention. Seeing my son with his father made me realize, quite painfully, what I had missed in my own youth. Then, as he began to ask more questions about the family history, it became clear to me that I would have to find a way to get some answers.

Opening Pandora’s box has been quite an experience, but I am eternally grateful to my son for sending me on this quest, where I got much more than what I had originally bargained for– my goal was simply to learn about the past, never once allowing myself to think about a possible future with anyone. Finding my family, has filled a huge emptiness in my life that I never admitted to anyone, even myself.

The journey is rarely easy, and may in fact be quite painful, but if we can find the strength to tackle the painful issues in our lives as opposed to trying to bury them, I believe we stand a far better chance at finding true happiness.