From a young age I knew there were other siblings. I don’t know how I knew. I don’t remember being sat down and told I had three half siblings somewhere out there. I just remember knowing. I remember always wondering about them. I remember wondering why my Dad had no contact with them. I remember wondering if they wondered about me.
My dad was the simplest and most complicated man I knew.
He and I were always playing a game of chess. Trying to outsmart the other and me specifically trying to get him to reveal something; anything about his past.
He had a past in Vietnam that I would piece together over my entire life; with so many pieces still missing at the time of his death. He had a past family that I would also piece together over time with bits and pieces from various family members and friends.
They were always something I came back to, these elusive siblings.
I’ve treated quite a few clients now who have siblings or half siblings they’ve never met. They always express feeling a certain way about that and I get it. Because when some one asks me if I have just one sister, my sister I grew up with, I always hesitate. Well yes but no. I don’t like to lie, and that felt like lying.
It’s a chronic sort of wonder and curiosity that plagued me.
When I was twenty eight or twenty nine I was with my sister one night. I had done a lot of wondering over the years and turns out so had she. We drank too much then of course where did we go but to facebook. We found them. We friended one of them. One of our sisters.
She friended us back.
At some point I realized the how and the why my Dad was cut off from them didn’t matter. I realized that it didn’t mean my sister and I couldn’t connect with them or at least try to. We had no agenda. We did not want to reconnect them with our Dad. We wanted to meet them. To know them. To see our siblings.
We met with one of our sisters at a restaurant. We were all nervous, we all brought our spouses, and I remember saying to my sister “What’s she going to think that we are both lesbians?” I mean it’s one thing reuniting with two sisters you’ve never met, but two lesbian sisters?! My sister is much calmer than I am and she didn’t ever think it would be an issue. And it wasn’t.
I got out of my car and I approached a woman in front of a restaurant. My wife trailing behind me, and her husband behind her. We came face to face and it was bizarre. Because she was this mix of my sister and I. There was a third one of us. She said, “Do people call you Mere? Because people call me Ger!” It rhymed and she smiled and I smiled and we had this one stupid thing in common immediately and would come to find out so much more.
We laughed and we hugged. Then we all spent the next six hours in a restaurant asking about the last thirty years of each others lives. It was incredibly comfortable.
We had a lot of weird stuff in common that felt like stuff only siblings could really know about each other even though we never met before. The whole experience was surreal and felt like we were in a movie where long lost relatives are united.
We took a picture, the three of us and my niece and we all looked at it later and thought holy crap we look like sisters. It wasn’t until I saw that picture again and again that it really sunk in for me. The half siblings I always wondered about were real and I met one. And I could call her my sister now, not just some distant half sibling. She was my sister now too.
When I got pregnant with twin boys later on, and I worried about Declan’s big head she sent me photos of her sons as infants. Big heads. I was so relieved. They also looked incredibly like my sons. My mom’s side of the family only has one boy. So it has been great to have other boys to compare my sons’ likeness’ to. It seems silly, these little things, but they are important to me.
We have met up a few times since our initial meeting. We text and call and message when we can. What’s great is that there is not this pressure to develop any sort of relationship that is fake or forced. It’s like we know that the other one is there. Really there. Not just a far off dream. That she is a phone call away and vice versa is comforting. It laid something to rest for me.
I don’t know many things about my Dad’s life before he was my Dad. But I left nothing unsaid between he and I. I have no regrets about our relationship. And now I have no regrets about my siblings either.