Friday, January 25, 2008

Finding my new family

2007 was an interesting year. I discovered I had two half sisters and several cousins.
It's along story and I've cut a few things out but:-

I suppose I'd sort of gathered over the years that my older sister and brother were perhaps not my mum's .
There had been the odd clue, dates not exactly working out, memories of ancient certificates in the tin box my mum kept under the bed when I was little. But it was never mentioned or talked about. Until Brian, the eldest died. I met people at his funeral whom I didn't know and they turned out to be related to Brian's real mother who had died before I was born. Talking to Susan my older 'sister' later that eveening I discovered that the dad I'd known couldn't be my real father either, I just had to ask more, and as 'dad' had died many years ago I asked my mother.
She wasn't happy and it took another several months before I persuaded her to give me a name. This name took me on a wild goose chase and I discovered my mother had been married before, if only for a few days, but this man wasn't my real dad either!. Back to mother. She obviously hadn't expected I'd be able to trace the family and find out. It was several months later that she eventually gave me another name. Luckily it was as rare as the first name she'd given me.

My Two Sisters Alison (left) & Hilary (right)

It only took me several minutes on Google to discover a few similar names and locations. A minute or two later after looking at the telephone book online, I had two likely telephone numbers. The first one I called didn't answer. The second one did. A very nice sounding lady, Ellen, who turned out to be my biological father's sister in law (ie she was married to my real father's brother) answered the 'phone. I asked several questions. In return so did she. Who was I? Why was I asking?

I dropped the bombshell. I was 'Alans' son. She obviously decided she had to do a bit of checking up herself and said she'd call back later, which she did. She asked some more questions about personal matters that only my mother could possibly answer. I eventually obtained answers to these questions from mum and passed them on. A day passed and Ellen called me again. "Your father died several years ago, but his wife is still alive. You have two sisters and several cousins. Do you want to contact them?". Now this was something I'd not considered. I certainly had no previous notions of actually meeting new family. I just wanting to know about who my real father was - thats all. I told Ellen that if they wanted to contact me, I'd answer or reply to them. I had no real expectiations or hopes or wishes. I'd found out who I was and traced my real father.

Within a day or two I received e-mails from my new sisters and several cousins. They all sounded nice - a relief. I could not ignore them and e-mails and pictures were soon exchanged and later I decided to talk to my two new sisters over the phone. They sounded absolutely delightful. Then in early 2007 we were asked if would like to come over for a family reunion, an event that was not likely to be repeated. No was my first thought, then following a brief discussion with my partner Trish, I changed my mind. We might never get another chance. Yes!! And so in March that year, Trish and myself traveled to Cambridge in England and met my new family. It was a wonderful experience, we got along so well and had so many things in common it answered many questions I had regarding nature over nurture. Alison and Hilary have since visited our home here in Ireland and we keep in touch.

I've gained a new family. An experience to be valued.

No comments: