Thursday, September 12, 2013
Life Comes Full Circle -- I Believe in Miracles!
One of my sisters loves outdoor activity, just like me!
Friends, I've always had a scientific brain and have been skeptical about the veracity of reported miracles. But after the week I have experienced, I have to report that unexplainable miracles do indeed happen!
As many of you know, I have been diagnosed with advanced malignant melanoma, and I am participating in a promising clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. The side effects are rather miserable, and it is difficult at times for me to keep my spirits up.
Some of you may remember that I contacted my original (o) mother over 10 years ago. She shared a little information, but did not want to have ongoing contact, and asked that I please not write her again. She also asked me to "please not make trouble" by contacting her other daughter, who she said did not know about me.
My long-range plan was to look for my half-sister after my original mother passed away. Two years ago, when I was surveying public records to see if my (o) mother had died, I by chance discovered the identity of my half-sister -- her husband had just passed away, and both she and my (o) mother were mentioned in the obituary.
I wrote my sister Janet* a letter at that time, but couldn't quite get myself to send it. (fear of more rejection?) Shortly after my diagnosis, my daughter Jenn said to me, "Well, I didn't make any promises to anyone, and I have a gut feeling that I should write your sister, if you will give me your blessing."
I told Jenn to go ahead, but if the reaction were negative, to not share it with me, as I just don't have the energy right now to deal with it. Jenn did send the letter earlier this week, and she called me several days ago, weeping, to relay the following story:
Janet had just moments before called Jenn, very emotional and just ecstatic to have been found! She and her sister Eileen*, a sister I didn't even know I had, had found my original birth certificate just three weeks before in their mother's apartment. (At 90, she is still living, but not very stable.)
My sisters had no idea how to find me, although they had been looking on the internet, reaching dead ends at every turn. As Eileen has relayed to me, "I couldn't sleep at night, wondering where you were and if you had had a happy life."
What joy for me to discover that my sisters were not only happy to be found, but that they had been actively looking for me! Since Monday, I have been showered with love and total acceptance for all of who I really am. This Saturday, if my health allows, they are both coming to my home to see me.
I have learned so much about my personal history so far. According to Janet, my (o) mother is an emotionally closed, unstable and unpredictable person who "should have been on medication her whole life." Sadly, says Janet, she doesn't believe our mother has experienced a happy day in her whole life, and "she has always looked for love in all the wrong places." She summed up by explaining, "My mother has never been able to freely accept or give love." She told me all of this with honest compassion.
How I would have benefited from knowing all of this when I was 18 years old! My (o) mother's rejection had nothing whatsoever to do with me -- she had limitations which prevented her from being the mother she should have been even to the children she kept. Both of my sisters had pledged to themselves that they would not be our mother in their adulthoods, that they would love their own children with all their hearts and souls.
I have also learned some vital medical facts, the most important one being that malignant melanoma is present in our family line, as my o-mother's brother had experienced a bout with it. Knowing this, would doctors have been more attentive to the lesion on my toe 16 years ago, when I had my first experience with melanoma? We'll never know, but how insane that I had no access to this information.
But what has moved me the most of all these past few days is the fact that both of my sisters are such sweet, loving souls, who had leaned on each other for support all the while they were growing up. They are both grounded, respectful, resilient and open. We have exchanged family pictures and loving notes, and I can say already without reservation that I love them both, and that they love me.
Some remarkable circumstances had to come together for this reconnection to occur. I marvel at --
... the fact that two years ago, I felt a pull to the computer, urging me to see if my (o) mother had passed away. It was during that episode that I accidentally discovered Janet's identity through her husband's obituary.
... the fact that Jenn felt an irresistible urge to reach out to Janet earlier this week.
...the fact that just three weeks ago, Janet and Eileen accidentally discovered my original birth certificate in their mother's apartment. They started to look for me immediately.
So readers, what do you think? Do you think that this primal reconnection at this most trying time in my life is a coincidence, grace, or a miracle? You know what? I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. Right now, I'm just soaking in a profound love that I did not know existed, and that I never could have or would have expected.
As Eileen wrote, "I have always believed that there is a bond between mothers, children and siblings that cannot be broken by separation or time."
Amen, Eileen. I now believe in miracles, and my heart is full.
*Names have been changed to protect the fragile health of my original mother.