Let’s talk: Could you forgive your mother for abandonment?

A mother has been found 42 years after deliberately disappearing from her family home in Indiana. The sobering case has
Let's Talk

A mother has been found 42 years after deliberately disappearing from her family home in Indiana. The sobering case has prompted many to ask whether they could forgive their mum for abandonment, or whether there are two sides for every story.

Now aged 69, Lula Gillespie-Miller told police that she left three children behind decades ago. Ms Gillespie-Miller said at age 28, she felt too young for motherhood and had been a victim of crime.

Her husband had passed in the early 70s, leaving Ms Gillespie-Miller very vulnerable. Heartbreakingly, the young mother was allegedly attacked and raped by four men after becoming a widow.

In a mysterious letter just days after the attack, Ms Gillespie-Miller gave custody of her children to her parents. She then disappeared to Texas, where she’s been living under an alias ever since.

Ms Gillespie-Miller did not contact her family again, except for one letter that she later sent from Virginia. However, her case was reopened by Detective Sergeant Scott Jarvis in 2014.

Detective Jarvis liaised with the Doe Network, a resource for family with missing persons. He used the Virginian letter to track Ms Gillespie-Miller’s movements into Texas.

When Detective Jarvis finally knocked on Ms Gillespie-Miller’s door last week, she immediately admitted to being the missing person he was searching for.

Ms Gillespie-Miller’s children have spoken about their mixed feelings, upon discovering their mother is actually alive.

“We sat for five minutes with our jaw dropped”, explained daughter Tammy Miller. “It’s like something out of a movie”.

“You think 40 years, you haven’t heard anything by now, the chances are slim”, Tammy Miller added. She believed her mother had been killed.

“You sit and you analyse the picture. Do I have her eyes? Do I have her cheekbones? Do I look like her at all?”

Ms Gillespie-Miller’s children have also criticised Indiana authorities, for not doing more to assist the young mum during her time of need. Nobody was questioned about her rape, despite reports being filed at the time.

“I know that Lula made some mistakes – but to know that someone could have robbed her from the right to get her life straightened out and be a mother to her children is what hurts so bad”, said Tammy Miller.

This saddening story has forced people to ask what they’d do in a similar situation. “There are always two sides to a story”, one woman commented on Facebook.

Whilst another added, “Sometimes, for reasons unknown to us, missing people under these circumstances should remain that way. I hope the daughter finds what she is looking for with no regrets”.

Could you forgive your parents for an abandonment? Or are there always two sides for every story?

  1. Vicki Penniment  

    I don’t think there is ever a happy ending here. So sad that so many years have been lost. Who knows what we would do under the same circumstances.

  2. Gail  

    That is a hard one unless I was in the position to answer truthfully will never really know the true answer. I would ask why she didn’t bother to try she has had plenty of time to come forward. Too difficult to answer I’m hoping I would

  3. Isabella  

    Abandonment doesn’t only mean the parent walking away. It can include emotional abandonment which is much worse… your mother is there physically… but she may as well be gone from your life completely.

  4. Julie leach  

    I have trouble with the fact that at no time during those 40 years did she contact not just her children but her parents..did she seek help did she get counciling …i dont know..not even one phone call..

  5. I don’t know what to say. Because I have not supped from MS Gillespie- Millers cup and thus I do not or am unable to feel what she felt. I would give her the reason of doubt, and pray for her and her parents and children. I feel if my mother abandoned me for 40 yrs. I am not sure if I could forgive her. However the Lord says, “Forgive One Another as I have Forgiven you” ” Love One Another As I have Loved You” I think if the people involved were Christians then they could pray about their feelings and they would find it easier to make a decision. However 40yrs. is a long, long, time, I am not sure if I would be able to get over it, prayers and all. It is a Terrible situation to be in.

  6. i would find it very difficult to forgive but i would still have questions i would probably talk with yer

  7. Did this mother ever think about the rejection her children would grow up with, and why did she have so many children if she didn’t want to be a mother.

  8. Ruby  

    She left and police tracked her down. Why bother they should have better things to do.

  9. Gaylene Aston  

    i dont understand any mother who can leave her children & put the responsibility on her parents.

  10. Pam Spearwell  

    Because she is a woman, hounded. How many millions of men have done this, nobody is writing about them, food for thought??

    • Janis  

      I agree with you pam. How many men left the woman to bring up the children . My ex didn’t come near my children till they were 16 and never paid a thing for the two of them .

  11. Gary seen  

    I met my mother when I was 43 it was a strange hard to explain meeting I did not and would not ask why because I was just so happy to fill that void in my life sadly it proved not to be a relationship that she wished to continue with and I found out she passed away about 4 years before my next attempt to touch base she had another daughter

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