Valerie Spruill was not aware of the secret while her husband was alive. For years after his death, she heard bits of the story.
None of it made sense, the woman said. That’s not until her uncle finally told her what no one else had: she had been married to her own father she never knew.
“It is devastating. It can destroy you,” Spruill told reporters late Thursday by telephone. “It almost did.”
“I don’t know if he ever knew or not. That conversation didn’t come up,” she added. “I think if he did know, there is no way he could have told me.”
The woman didn’t want to believe in rumors so she made a DNA test which confirmed that her husband was indeed her father.
As a result, Spruill was devastating emotionally – and physically, she suffered two strokes and was diagnosed with diabetes. All of it, she believes was brought on by learning the family secret.
“Pain and stress will kill, and I had to release my stress,” Spruill said. “I’m just telling the story to release my pain.”
The woman has a deep faith in God, who she believes has guided her through the experience – and others that have shaped her life, reports CNN.
“You have to have faith,” she said. “If God brought me this far, he’s not going to leave me now.”
Spruill met and married her husband in Akron and the couple settled in Doylestown, a working class suburb of about 2,300.
It was her second marriage. Percy Spruill was a good man who was kind to her three children from her previous marriage. “We had a good life,” she said.
Valerie learned that her mother worked as a prostitute and even was involved in 1980 corruption scandal surrounding James Barbuto, a probate judge who was convicted of intimidating investigators and gross sexual imposition for attacking a courthouse clerk in his chambers.
“My mother showed me lots of love. All said and done, I have no regrets in my life at all,” she said.
Her husband-farther died in April 1998 at the age of 60. Born in Mississippi, he worked in Akron as a truck driver and, later, as a parking-lot attendant at Morley Health Center. He and Valerie’s mother hooked up when he was only 15.
Valerie supposes that she may have siblings or half-siblings from Spruill’s previous relationships, including the one with her mother. She said she wants to intends to them and let them know they are not alone.
“My biggest goal is to find them and let ’em know that [their mother] loved them, no matter what. And [to tell them], ‘Thank God she gave you away like she did me, so you could have a beautiful life,” she said.
Spruill, herself, has three children and eight grandchildren. She doubted whether to tell her children the truth or not.
A therapist “advised me to tell my kids,” she said. “I told them about two years ago. They are remarkable. They are handling it better than I am.”
Soon after that the woman decided to tell the news her grandchildren.
“They have been so supportive. They are telling me they love me, telling me they will do whatever I need,” she said.
Spruill revealed her story, first published in the Akron Beacon Journal, hoping that her experience would help others facing what seem like insurmountable problems.