My mom was adopted. Her entire life her adopted brother was very mean to her. When she was older he got meaner - and once he told her the family hated her, tolerated her and never wanted her in their lives. She believed him. She just quit visiting with them. Her adopted mom, her cousins and... well, the entire family. If she wasn't wanted, she wasn't going to force the family to 'tolerate' her. Why would she?
She once got a very ugly letter from my Uncle Billy's wife. I won't even repeat what was in it - other than to tell mom she was a burden to everyone, she owed them thousands of dollars for grandma's care and if she ever tried to contact her they would put her in jail for not paying. It was a mean, ugly letter.
This was before cell phones, facebook and all that unites us.
Mom was broken hearted, disconneted and died thinking she was not wanted by anyone in her adopted family.
Fast forward to now. Our family is all on Facebook. Somehow a cousin got in touch with us and we all visited back and forth for a long time... gently treading waters because, heck - we didn't even know each other any more, even though years ago, Melanie, Valerie and I were as close as cousins could be. When we went to grandma's house before all of this happened, we all loved spending time together. We had Easter Egg hunts, Thanksgiving meals and Holidays together. We loved each other!
Again, fast forward to now; one cousin finally asked me why we disappeared off the face of the earth. We talked online and I told her the 'short story' version.
And she said, "My dad was a ass. Not one person in our family loved him. No one even liked him. He was vicious, he was a drunk, he was a player, he was hateful, he was mean and he died a lonely death because he was such an ass. None of us children had anything to do with him. He was a mean S.O.B. through and through. I am sorry your mom was told that, but we all loved her and missed her. Grandma just didn't understand why your mom quit coming around. None of us could ever could figure out what happened."
And so, we never had to lose that part of the family. Grandma died broken hearted because she thought moma had disowned her, moma died thinking grandma and the rest of the family didn't want her and our families separated and went different ways for 40+ years.
But last week, we had a wedding in the town we lost. Since I was going to El Reno for the wedding, I made arraingements to meet up with my cousins - they all lived there still. Liz drove in from Okmulgee. Sherry (my baby sister was named after this cousin) and Melanie met us at the campground and we talked. Heart to heart talked. And we reconnected. And I am finally a part of the family we lost so many years ago.
One person can cause so much heart ache. He was my uncle, but he was their father. How sad is that?
But he doesn't control us anymore. We are once again family.
Thank you, Liz, Sherry and Melanie for opening those doors. What a wonderful family reunion! We have sure missed you.
We have always loved you. I am so glad we are together again. We may have lost 40 years, but here is to the next 40.
I hope grandma and moma are reunited in Heaven and know the story now.
Here's to more fun times!
Sherry, Liz, Melanie, and I in El Reno.