In which the past knocks on my virtual door

I am an only child.  My parents divorced when I was 5, and it was a long, messy, damaging process.  No one came out unscathed.  My father remarried quickly- my new stepmother already had three children.  Long story short, it was made known that I was not welcome during my court-sanctioned visits to my father’s house.  I quit going when I was about 14.  This was assisted by my father moving and not telling me where he moved to.  My father and stepmother had two children after that, a girl and a boy, neither of whom I knew at all.

My father died in 1994, unexpectedly to everyone.  I was contacted by my long-lost uncles who informed me of the services.  I attended, much to the surprise of that side of the family.  I was still the outsider, still not really welcomed.

Three weeks ago, I attend a political event and run into Stepmother.  She recognized me first, and I was just floored to see her after nearly 15 years.  We had some small talk, and that was that.  It was a shock to see her, and it dredged up emotions I hadn’t visited in a long time.

Fast forward to Tuesday 4/29.  My oldest gets a MySpace IM from my half-brother, who is now 23.  He introduces himself as her uncle, and says he wants to talk to us, get to know us.  Oldest comes downstairs and says, “There some guy named **** who says he’s my uncle and wants to talk to us.  Who is he?” So I have to say, yes that is true, and explain the situation.  His message says he wants to know more about the family.

I get on MySpace, and find him.  There’s all these messages from his friends in the prior 48 hours about “sorry for your loss”, “if you need to talk”, “shoulder to cry on”, etc.  I gather someone had died, and it is one of the sisters.  I don’t know which one- my step or my half, so I email him.

In the meantime, my poking around on the internet reveals that it is in fact my half sister who died on 4/23 at the age of 24, leaving behind a husband and 14 month old baby.  I don’t know what happened to cause this yet, but I’m sure I’ll find out eventually.   It’s an incredibly sad story, but because I didn’t know her, I don’t feel a great sense of personal loss.  Of course, you people will think I’m a monster for that, I’m sure.  I have every sympathy for her husband, baby and her family, but I don’t feel a need to grieve personally.

In my email to my half-brother (even writing that sounds weird to me), and said if he wanted to talk, I’d be open to that.  He wrote back the next day and said he was glad I’d written, and that he’d wanted to reach out for a long time.  It seems that this loss has encouraged him to do so.  I’ve been waiting for a call from him ever since.

My problem at this point is, I have no idea what this kid has been told about me, and what kind of family stories he believes or judgments he’s already made.  My family is not easy (whose is?), and I frankly don’t know what this kid will want from me, if anything at all other than a connection to his father.  Which I barely have anyway.  The whole thing is a real emotional upheaval, and I was not prepared to have to deal with this kind of thing after my father died.  I just figured I’d be written off by that part of my family, and that would be that.  They have never made any efforts to keep in touch with me or to reach out in even a cursory way, and I did not expect that to change.

I have always identified as an only child, never as someone with siblings, because I never really felt I was a member of that family.  Now I have someone saying, “I’m your brother”, and to my kids, “I’m your uncle”.  And I don’t know what to make of that.  I want to give this a chance, see what he wants to know, but I really feel like my guard is up.  I wish I didn’t feel that way, especially since I know next to nothing about this kid, and that’s not his fault, but nor is it mine.

What I’m really wondering is why the Universe decided to open this particular window now.   What is in store for me?  I’m almost afraid to find out, but that would be unadventurous.  I’m forging ahead, reservations and all, to see what lies beyond.

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1 comment so far

  1. ewok1993 on

    This is a very interesting post. Well sister, hit this curveball that life just threw at you out of the park 🙂

    Good luck on your surgery. And I hope you let all your loved ones baby you sometimes.


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