My oldest brother is gravely ill and I don’t know how I am supposed to feel.
I’ve known about Frank for about seven years since I made contact with my paternal family. I have spoken to him on the phone, we have shared letters, but I have never met him in person. Most of what I know about Frank has been told to me by our sister, Ruth. I have known her for about seven years as well. She speaks highly of our brother and, through her eyes, I know Frank as an honorable and hard-working man.
Today, I stood at the card section in Target looking for a suitable card I can tuck a letter into. I want to write to him; I want him to know I am happy to have him as a “big brother”. Hallmark doesn’t make a card for a brother with whom there are no shared childhood memories. I couldn’t find anything suitable for a brother who’s first words to his new sister were “well this is quite a surprise!”
So I found a blank card with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that said “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” It fits. Kind of.
I wish that when I reached out to try to find my birth-family almost thirty years ago, that I would have found Frank and Ruth, and our sister Miriam. I missed knowing our brother Ed who passed away a few years before I found the family, too.
I missed a lot.
It is a strange position to be in and I find myself feeling unsure as to the right thing to do; I’ve never walked on this path before. This adoption-thing doesn’t seem to get any easier, it just gets more complicated.