Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lost sisters

Without going into too much family history, I'm going to try and explain this recent development without confusing anyone too much.

My mother was married three times in her life.

1) Howard - they had two kids together: Cheri & Tim
2) Nelson - my biological father. They had me. He left when I was just a few months old and died when I was 6 yrs old.
3) Roger - my stepdad, but the only man I'd ever called Dad. He had three grown kids from a previous marriage. He came along when I was about 18 mos old and was with my mother until I was 13. He died five years ago.

I grew up calling Cheri and Tim my sister and brother. It's always been that way. I've never referred to them as "halves" or anything. In fact, my brother is who raised me when my mom died when I was 15.

Because of the circumstances surrounding my parents divorce and the issues leading up to it, I had no contact whatsoever with my biological father, who had moved back to Georgia, where his family was from. The only relative on his side of the family we had anything to do with was his brother (my uncle) Calvin. Calvin and my mother had kept in touch throughout the rest of her life. My father was very rarely spoken of.

Fastforward to 1995. I was recently married and had a newborn. My aunt (Nelson & Calvin's sister) Melba had written me a series of letters telling me about my extended family. She knew my mother hadn't ever really talked to me about it, so she told me all about aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. She also told me that I had two sisters on my dad's side, Mary & Linda and included some pictures of them from when they were little.

This was news to me. I had no clue I had other siblings out there. Aunt Melba told me their names, but unfortunately, nobody in my family had last names or any idea where they lived. I did some internet searches for them, but without last names, I didn't get far. I'd done a few more futile searches over the years, but after fifteen years, I'd given up. I felt it was probably just not meant to be to meet my sisters. For that matter, I didn't even know if they knew that I existed. I'd come along several years after our father had left their mom.

Over the years, I've lost touch with a lot of my Georgia family. Uncle Calvin passed away in 2007 and I hadn't really talked to anyone since then. I recently found his wife on Facebook along with some of my cousins and I sent them friend requests.

When my aunt accepted me as a friend, I went through her profile, looking at pictures and checking her friends list. That's when I stumbled up on Linda's name...and just a few people later, Mary's. I looked at their pictures and knew right away they were my sisters. Now what?! Did they know who I was? Would they want to hear from me?

I finally decided to break down and email them both. Mary responded within a few hours very favorably and we actually spoke on the phone for the first time Sunday afternoon. I'm still waiting for Linda's response, but from what I understand, she's very busy and doesn't get the chance to get on Facebook as frequently as I do. Mary and I are planning on meeting for the first time in March.

I'm still overwhelmed by this whole thing, but I'm so excited at the prospect of getting to know my sisters.

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