Tag Archives: #life

Hold the Phone….Say WHAT?!?

19 Jul

I got another message from Aunt Patty. It was filled with all kinds of family information. Most of it not necessary to share. But the key points:

– She talked to her brother a lot and he was going to text me.

– He might take the test for me sometime.

– She mailed me a package with information on the family and if I want more to let her      know because she has a lot of family history.

Yay for packages. First, because…well who doesn’t like getting mail that is not bills? Second because it contains information about my mysterious other “family.”

But wait, what?!?! Her brother is going to text me?!? and, he might be willing to take the test for me?!? I mean HECK!! I never thought the topic of the test would come up. I would have wanted to ask but would have been too respectful not to and yet here it is potentially being offered to me on a silver platter…but even BIGGER than that……he wants to TALK to me!!!!

OMG! I was like a kid on Christmas!! He was most likely going to tell me person to person he is not my father…then I would have my closure. But this is also the same man who didn’t want me to contact him and now he was choosing to contact me!

I am guessing his interest in contacting me was a combination of his sister’s persuasion and my words. I am sure that she told him that from talking to me that I was not looking to cause any trouble and I had also asked her to please give him a message for me. In one of my messages to her I wrote:

Poor (Father #2) must have had quite the shock when your son first approached him with the story. Maybe you could do me a favor and let him know that if I had ever reached out to him to ask him about my mother, I would have found a way to do it discreetly so his wife would have never known. The way I viewed it from the start was that as much as I wanted to know who my father was, it was not at the sake of his family!! I never wanted to hurt anyone whether it be a spouse, child, sibling, etc. If (Father #2) had been my father, that was between him and I and if he wanted to share that with anyone else it was up to him. I actually had no intention if I had asked him of telling him that if it wasn’t him, it was his brother because I never wanted to have laid something like that on him when his brother wasn’t here for him to talk to about it. Luckily for me, your son took the test and talked to him so I didn’t have to figure out a way to do it myself and to be honest I am so grateful for Anna and her dad because they made this so much easier logistically but emotionally as well. Plus having them involved brought me you, your daughter and your son. I have talked to each of them which has been so nice!!! It made me feel like I had a “place” and I am so grateful for that 🙂 But please, do tell your brother that I am sorry if I caused him any stress or concern. It was never my intention and I would never have done anything to put his family in jeopardy. I have too much respect to do anything like that! Whether father or uncle he was still family and I would never want to hurt family 🙂    

Maybe after all of that he could tell I was just a girl, looking for an answer but hey…whatever it was, I would take it! I told her that when and if he was ready, I would love to hear from him. If he decided not to be in touch I would completely understand but of course I would obviously love to talk to him!

Cardinal Red

17 Jul

I was looking out the window one afternoon, just a few days after the email from Aunt Patty telling me who in her heart she believed my biological father to be and saw a cardinal. Some people have said that when you see a cardinal it is a sign from a deceased loved one to let you know they are there.

It is funny because I rarely ever see cardinals but in last four or five months I have seen more than in the past 10 years combined. Both Cardinals and Blue Jays have been appearing outside my bedroom window (and a few other places too). I have never seen so many in such a short period of time.

I have different feelings associated with them every time. Sometimes it is happiness. Sometimes it is peace. One time I felt a presence, like my mother was there to encourage me. But this time, I just happened to look briefly out the window of a church and across the street on the fence sat a cardinal. The feeling hit instantaneously…..my father was acknowledging me. The bird sat there for a minute or two and then flew away.

Maybe I am crazy. I mean a bird is just a bird right? But the feeling I had seemed so real! It was comforting. I have always associated sightings with my mother. Thinking somehow it was connected with her but this one time the feeling hit right away. As if there was no doubt it was him.

The Verdict Is In

14 Jul

After the email from my Aunt (we will call her Aunt Patty), things started to unfold so fast. Within the next few days, she told her daughter and other son about me. Her daughter sent me an email and added me on Facebook while her son added me on Facebook and we chatted there. Anna had asked for a picture of my biological mother so she could show it to her grandmother and see if maybe she might have known my mother.

Everyone was so nice! They seemed genuinely excited to have a new addition to the family and were curious about who this new person was.  It was fun learning about everyone and seeing some of the things we have in common. Little did I know that Aunt Patty was hard at work behind the scenes.

Aunt Patty kept in touch. She said she was sorry she could not tell me who my father was but told me stories about both of them. I heard about some of their traditions, families, etc. She also sent me pictures of her brothers and herself. I sent her some pictures of me. I asked her if I reminded her of anyone. Nothing prepared me for her response!!!

She wrote me and said she wished she could tell me 100% who my father was but she can tell me in her heart who she believes it is. She said that she had a long talk with her brother. She told him all about me and showed him the picture of my biological mother. He said he did not recognize her and that he was not my father. Seeing his face and hearing him out, she believed him. She truly believed that her other brother (father #1) was my biological father. She even went as far as to say that I remind her a bit of him. He was such a good man. They did coffee together every Friday until he was too sick to do it anymore. He raised his daughters on his own and was very good to his mother. He called her every day and visited her often when she was in the nursing home.  He was also Patty’s daughter’s god father. Every year at Easter he sent her a corsage from her “secret admirer.” What an absolute sweetheart!! She said that if he knew I existed he would have been sure to be a part of my life and that he would have loved me.

So there is was. I would never know 100% but it seemed pretty darn sure. She of all people would know her brother and be able to tell if he was being honest with her. Plus, so many of the clues that I found along the way seemed to point to him. In all honesty, even though he was gone which means that just like my biological mother I will never be able to meet him and their story will always be a mystery, just hearing about the man he was, I would be thrilled if he was my biological father. Everyone tells me stories about the person my biological mother was. It would make so much sense if it was him. And wouldn’t it be nice that even if I can never meet my biological father in the end, that the memory of him that I am introduced to is such a good and positive one!

I was finally finding my peace. Little by little. It wasn’t quite closure, but it was peace. I still hoped for the rest. I still hoped in time maybe Patty’s brother would give me that closure. But this….this was all something I can live with. This was really darn close.  Father #1 was the first person on the list of potentials at the beginning of my search that I felt the instant connection to. It would make sense if it was him. I would be happy if it was him.

Extra, Extra….Read All About It

12 Jul

News!! She has news!! I am in the dressing room at the store, trying on clothes for my upcoming vacation. I stop instantly and start reading.

Anna’s father had reached out to father #1’s eldest daughter. She had not responded so he made the decision to go directly to father #2. He approached him and explained the situation to him. Father #2 said he did not recognize my mother’s name and to ask me to please not contact him because he did not want his wife to get mad.

Heartbreak. Confusion. Questions. Reality. My mind was racing in a million different directions! Please don’t contact him because his wife will be mad??? That was a statement I was not expecting. Not because I didn’t understand that this could obviously be an issue that could potentially cause tension (hence the way I was trying to approach everything in a way to protect everyone and their privacy and relationships) but because it had a guilty tone. It just opened the door to more questions, but at the same moment slammed the door in my face because he did not want to talk to me.

The emotions hit like a train off the rails. Silent tears in the dressing room as I processed it all. There was nothing more I could do. All the was left was to accept the fact that yes, I was disappointed I could not get a definitive answer, but be grateful for the fact that I came from a place where there was no hope of ever knowing who my father was and somehow, I had it narrowed down to two people. That had to be enough and I knew after a few days of raw emotion, I would be able to accept that. That is me. I am able to see the bigger picture. Sometimes I just need a few minutes to process my personal feelings.

Of course I had every intention of honoring his request. I told Anna to please have her father assure him that I understand and will not bother him. I went home that night and cried. My search was over. The conclusion, there was no conclusion. There was no definitive answer. All that work. No closure.

I won’t even begin to try to list all the thoughts running through my mind, but I will say that it is crazy how many scenarios you can come up with for just one statement made by another person.

The next morning I was still a little sad but there was no room for a pity party for one. I got up and went off to work. Work was a welcome distraction.

That afternoon I got another message from Anna. She wrote to tell me that her parents had told her grandmother (my aunt) about me. They had not said anything before because they were waiting to get as much information as possible, but now that we knew Anna’s father and I were 1st cousins, they were ready to tell her. At first she was in shock and could not believe the news but then……then she seemed kind of excited to have a niece!! She was going to have Anna over the next week to help her scan pictures for me. What’s more….she would love to talk to me!

Oh my goodness how the emotions changed. From sad to happy in seconds.

Testing 1-2-3

15 Jun

The wheels started turning. How could I solve this mystery? I was laying in bed, ready to go to sleep and it hit me. The light bulb over my head lit up!!! I whipped out my phone and started to google immediately. There had to be a test for this! There is a test for everything 😉

There is was. In black and white in front of me. A sibling test. A DNA test to specifically determine if two people are siblings, half siblings, etc. This was it! My answer to it all. All we would have to do is convince daughter #1 to take the test and we would know for sure.

I turned off the lights and tried to get to sleep. An act that seemed much harder than normal as my brain was working in over drive. The next morning I began to research the test. I found multiple places that could perform it. I could feel the excitement build. Once you take the test it is just days before you get the results! I was so happy.

Of course the detective in me..the girl that needs to know all the details, ins and outs, all the fine print before ever doing something..came out to play. I poured over the FAQ’s, product information, etc. And then I found it. The proverbial road block. These tests can determine whether you are siblings (or half siblings) but not in the case where the potential fathers are brothers.

Boom, excitement crushed. My easy resolution to solve the puzzle had been blown to pieces. But why? Why wouldn’t it work?

After a few phone calls to a couple of DNA laboratories I better understood. When a child is conceived, they get 50% of their DNA from their mother and 50% from their father. What percentage you are getting from each parent is a free for all. For example: Tom got 50% of his father and 50% of his mother. In his father’s 50% he got a larger percentage from his father’s paternal side. Tom’s Brother Peter got 50% of his father and 50% of his mother. In his father’s 50% he got a larger percentage from his father’s maternal side. This breaks down to the fact that two FULL siblings do not have the exact same DNA.

Now consider half siblings. If you have different mothers and the same father, you already eliminate half of your DNA. The fun fact is, cousins and half siblings share the same percentage of DNA. That means, depending on the Russian roulette of genetics, you can have more DNA with a cousin than a half sibling. Imagine that. So if daughter #1, daughter #2 and I took a a DNA test, the results could come back that daughter 1 is my sister and daughter 2 is my cousin when in fact it is the reverse! The only way to truly know is a paternity test. Yikes! The dreaded paternity test! The one thing that I hoped would not be the be all end all!

 

Aunt Becky

19 Apr

My sophomore year of high school, my mom got a call from my grandfather. He told her that my foster mother was very sick and that she wanted to see me before she died. My mom said of course and pulled me out of school for a few days. We drove to Pennsylvania where we went to visit her.

They told her I was coming and when we got there, warned me. She could not talk and may not recognize me. As I walked in the room she locked eyes with me instantly. I went and sat by her side and held her hand. She squeezed it so tight and did not let go. I am not sure how long I sat there. She was surrounded by other family members including my foster father, 2 foster brothers and some of their significant others and children. We all talked and after a little while I went for a walk with the two girls who would have been my nieces. I fell in love with them instantly.  Those two girls made me feel like I was a part of the family. That we had known each other for ages.

My mom and I said our goodbyes when it was time to go. My foster mother was getting in to bed. The next day we met my grandfather and his wife for breakfast and they told us she had passed away the previous night. They believed she had hung on as long as she did so she could see me one last time. Of course I felt so guilty. Like maybe I should not have gone so soon so they could have had her longer but I realize now that I am older that was not the case. She was physically ready to go. Emotionally, she had been holding on.

A few years later my grandfather passed away and my foster father came to the funeral. It was there he and I really reconnected. He told me that he was remarrying and invited me to the wedding. I didn’t tell my mom and my dad, but my boyfriend and I drove to Pennsylvania for the wedding! It was such a special moment to be a part of but also so strange as all these people kept coming up to me telling me stories of, “I knew you when you were this tall” making a gesture showing they knew me when I was a wee little thing!

After the wedding I spent a few days with his oldest son (who should I have grown up with them, would have been my oldest brother) and his wife and four children. It was such a nice time. The kids all called me Aunt Becky. It appears they all grew up knowing who “Becky” was. They even told me that their grandmother still had my room in her house while they were growing up. I couldn’t believe it. I was special enough to this family that even when I had not been around for so many years, I was still in a way a part of it.

Since then, we have kept in touch with Christmas cards every year, sometimes letters and cards in between and of course now through social media it is even easier to be in touch! Who said families are cookie cutter? Families come in all shapes and sizes. Families are the people who love you. Sometimes they are your biological parents and siblings. Sometimes they are other relatives. Sometimes they are people who have come into your life and and become such a special part of it.

Fundamentals

13 Apr

As a child growing up, I always knew what family was. From the age of two and ½ to six, it was me and my mom against the world. When I was six, she married a man who became my dad. At eight and a half my first sister was born and at twelve, my second sister. Sounds pretty simple right? Now that would just make things way too easy!!

When my mother found out she was pregnant with me, she was a twenty eight year old single mom with a six year old son. She had been married to my brother’s father but had since gotten divorced. She and my brother moved to Pennsylvania where she got a job and planned to raise her son.

Somewhere in all of that she was thrown a curve ball……ME! She called her parents, sisters and brother and told them that she was pregnant. People say she sounded happy. I believe I came as quite the surprise but her message to everyone was that the father was not involved and she would be keeping the baby.

I don’t know what made her decide to keep me. She did not even know me yet. Maybe she did not want to go through the process of an abortion. Maybe she was in love with the man that fathered me. It is a mystery. He is a mystery. How they met is a mystery. Why didn’t she tell anyone who he was?

Most children grow up hearing the story about how their parents met, fell in love…and the rest is history. Not me. Not only did the book not come with a story, it came without a name or even a face.

I was born in August. A Leo. What I know of this time is foggy because all I have is snippets of everyone else’s stories. I try to piece them together into a chronological pattern but over the years they have all run together. I think the day I was born my brother was rough housing with my cousins and ended up in the emergency room getting stitches.

Many people look in the mirror and ponder who they look most like. Do I have my mom’s eyes? My dad’s nose? Whose smile did I get? I look in the mirror and just see a face staring back at me. Mine. I don’t have much to compare it to.

When I was four and a half months old, my mother got sick. She was in the hospital with pneumonia. The doctors went to do a procedure to help her with her breathing. During the surgery, she went into cardiac arrest. Sixteen minutes (I think) she was on the table without oxygen. For two weeks she was in a coma, machines breathing for her and keeping her alive. She never came home. She was 28 years old, just shy of her twenty ninth birthday. That is not supposed to happen. A six year old and a newborn at home. She had so much to live for and see. So many things to be a part of. Proms, weddings, grandchildren…just to name a few. But in the blink of an eye she was gone. No time to prepare. No one getting to say goodbye.

My brother went to Florida to live with his father. I had no father to go to. I had no “place.” My grandparents (divorced) had guardianship of me. My grandfather made arrangements for me to stay with a family from his church. But what was to be done with me for the long term?  That was yet to be decided.