I’ll probably sound callous and selfish in this story. I suppose I am both, but it comes from self-preservation.
After my father’s funeral, I got a Facebook message from a woman claiming to have been at the event.
"I was at Dad’s funeral this morning, but I wasn’t sure if I should introduce myself," this stranger wrote.
Watch: Meet MPlus, a space for women who want more from us to get extra, closer. Post continues below.
She was right to be hesitant - no one wanted to learn about an apparent secret daughter on that day. And certainly, no one wanted to meet her. The situation was already devastating enough for my family. It would have been the last thing we needed.
My dad had assets, and I found the timing of this message suspicious. I ignored it. It made me feel ill to read that someone was calling my dad, 'Dad', and even worse to think they might be motivated by money.
I looked at this stranger’s Facebook profile photo and saw my dad staring back at me. So, I knew.
And I knew I had to tell my mum about it. I was very nervous, but as these things so often go, my mum already knew.
Dad had been supporting this woman – his daughter – for 28 years. Her mother had worked for my parents at the time of their brief affair.
It was a secret Mum (and Dad) had chosen not to burden us with for almost three decades.
Mum told us that the girl and her mother had moved interstate, and Dad supported them with a house, private school education, and financial support for the future.
I was devastated for my mum, because what a situation to be put in. Oh gosh, the fights they must have had. The times she must have cried and wanted to leave.
Of course, I was furious with my dad. But in the context of my grief, I was probably more forgiving than I would otherwise have been. Marriage is complicated and people make mistakes.
When you lose someone, it’s easy sometimes to compartmentalise the past. He was still my father who I adored. I had no intention of going back over my life and questioning things. Would good would that have done?
The person I felt most disgusted by was my half-sister’s mother – who had an affair with a family man and chose to have his baby, and live off him for the rest of her life.