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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dec 6: When Harry met Maria...

Last Wednesday my brother and his partner came over to our place for a Celebratory dinner. This is the 12th year that we have met up on December 6. It all started in 1999...
‘It was just after 7pm when the phone rang and DD2 answered it. The call was for me and there was a quietly spoken male voice at the end of the phone.  He said his name and that he was doing some family research. I resisted the temptation to make some glib comment that I didn’t know much about my family as my parents had seemed to isolate themselves from family, especially my mother.
He went on to mention some familiar names on my mother’s side of the family. He stated that he had been in contact with a Liz R, whom he described as my aunt. I corrected him, saying that she was my cousin. He then went on to drop the biggest bombshell...’I am your brother’! Talk about surprise...the baby my mother had said was stillborn was actually alive! He went on to say that he was adopted by a family when he was 10 days old and had had a good life.
He had started looking for his birth mother when law changes here in Queensland meant that he could access his original birth certificate. It showed no father but gave an address as well as our mother’s maiden name and birth place. The address was no good as my mother had moved from the old family home in with me in 1979. I guess he didn’t think to knock on a few other doors in the street because there were people who knew where my mother was. Eventually he had embarked on a trip to the state of Victoria to my mother’s birth place; a small town near Warnambool.  Apparently he found lots of relatives still living in those areas and eventually was given a lead that the family moved to Corowa in NSW when my mum was 12 or 13. In Corowa he went to the historical society where he saw a copy of my maternal grandpa’s death certificate. A signature on this was my Aunt’s late husband. The woman at the museum was able to give my aunt’s contact details to my long-lost brother but he was unable to see her as he had to head he wrote a letter. By this time it was October 1999. Then on Monday, Dec 6, my cousin Liz rang his number and gave him the final piece of the address. Apparently my aunt was a bit suspicious and wouldn’t give out the information. My cousin had convinced her mother to give him a chance to be reconciled with his mother. Interestingly my aunt didn’t contact my mum about all this either, even though she knew the address of the nursing home where mum now lived...maybe she didn’t want to upset her.
When my mum finally met her son on Dec 7, she was in seventh heaven! They were able to spend a lot of time together in the next 18 months, but the next 6months after that weren’t so good with her failing health. It was as though, all the ‘ends were tied off’, she’d found her son, he didn’t resent her for adopting him out and she’d found that he considered he’d had a good life, so she could go to meet her maker. She was tired, she was ready to go to a better place. In 2001, on a Friday in May, she slipped into unconsciousness and died peacefully the next morning. I never really knew my mother and the secret she kept to herself all those years and the emotional pain she must have endured.’
Not Dec 6, but Christmas Eve second husband is great mates with my brother unlike #1

Harry and his partner of the last 3 years.
But it wasn’t only me whose life started to change on Dec 6, 1999, (my husband’s behaviour became so erratic and violent when my brother found me and I left the family home 10 months later) in an amazing co-incidence DH’s life also underwent a big change on that date... a sad and shockingly distressing time for was the date that his wife left, taking the children. DH and I may have gone through the disruption and distress of family breakdown but we got through it and came out the other side, to find each other!


Naturally Carol said...

What an amazing story! I am so glad that it has had a mostly happy outcome too. My husband found out that he had 2 siblings when his mother died..a complete shock. One wanted family contact, the other didn't. I think lots of those types of things must have happened when people weren't very open about things years ago.

Claud said...

A beautiful story Maria. I'm glad your brother found you and that you and DH found each other. Enjoy every day together.

Linn said...

That's just wonderful that you found each other. I often think about my adopted daughters family and wonder how they are.