Carol King-Eckersley said for 40-plus years she abided by the agreement she made when she gave up a son to adoption, never seeking to contact him or interfere with his life. But after her husband's death, a grief counselor encouraged her to try to reach out to her son.
King-Eckersley, now 65, said she knew his adoptive name and began researching online. What she found was his name listed among the 270 in a memorial to those who were killed in the Dec. 21, 1988 bombing that killed everyone aboard the plane and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland.
Her story was among those told during a BBC television documentary about the legacy of the bombing, called "Living With Lockerbie," which aired in England Monday.
"270 people died in that tragedy and one of those happened to be the only child I ever had. And I didn't even know it until last April," King-Eckersley said. "So it became a kind of double tragedy. I found him and I lost him on the same day."
Her biological son, Kenneth Bissett, was a Cornell University junior studying with Syracuse University's study abroad program in London. He was due to return to the United States a few days earlier but friends persuaded him to stay and celebrate his 21st birthday there.
"I'm still in the semi-numb part after you lose a loved one," says King-Eckersley. "Even though I didn't have him with me physically he was always in my heart. I thought of him pretty much every day."