At Last! The Secret of My Sister Revealed!!

img_9034Did you ever have an imaginary friend? What if your friend didn’t turn out to be imaginary at all? What if she turned out to be real? Well, mine did and this is the story.

When I was younger I wanted a sister so bad! I played with or talked about my imaginary friend as being my little sister. I was told by the adults that it was my imagination and when talking about it I was often hushed or dismissed.

Then it happened. I was in my mid-twenties when my mother came to me and confirmed what I always thought was imaginary or false memories. I did indeed have a sister and she was given up for adoption.

The story starts in the late sixties. The facts in the beginning were told to me by my mother who is sadly passed on now. She didn’t have an easy life and this was a particular difficult time for her. She was a very young mother of two whose husband (my father) was a marine deployed to Vietnam. While my father was overseas he went missing. My mother comes from a large family and instead of staying alone waiting for his return in another country she decided to come back to Canada during this time. Now, to protect the privacy of other’s involved in this part of the story I will save the details of how she became pregnant. She did make the difficult choice to put the baby up for adoption. My sister was adopted by a local family and had a happy life.

After my mother told me her story I couldn’t help but always have her on my mind. I thought about her quite a lot-Did she look like me, what was she like, was she happy, did our paths ever cross? In my early thirties while pregnant with my second son the urge to find out took over my thoughts daily and access to the internet became a common thing in most people’s households. Without my mother’s knowledge I started looking on adoption boards and sites with any stories of people looking for their birth families that had information similar to mine. I did decide to make a search post on one of these boards with the limited information I had. One night my mother called me saying she saw my post. I quickly pointed out that obviously she was interested in finding her too. With her permission and armed with more information I contacted Family and Children Services.

I don’t know how they do things now but back then this is how things were done. I submitted my name and info to a social worker who would input it into a database.  If you do match up you exchanged letters with non-identifying information. When the social worker received a release of personal information then what followed is an exchange of emails and phone calls before a meeting can take place. The social worker was very blunt and made a point of letting me know it could take years if ever a match would happen. It was dependent on whether or not my sister had her information in the database as well. Well, three days later she called to say there was a match!

I was so excited to write my letter but more so to receive hers. In it, she mentioned she was an RN. I’m not the most patient person and since my sister-in-law is also a nurse I thought maybe something may ring a bell with her if I read the letter to her. It turns out my sister-in-law said she worked with someone who fit the information in her letter. I called the social worker to ask her if the name I had was hers and she said she couldn’t confirm it yet because she hadn’t received the release of info forms. I read between the lines and knew it was indeed my sister. A few moments later it was confirmed. My sister-in-law worked with my sister all along. It turned out there were several other “six degrees of separation” moments like this. Needless to say we basically disregarded the standard protocol and went straight to the reunion! This was the Spring of 2000.

At first it was a bit of a challenge for us to start to get to know each other. Since we lived far apart initially it was a long distance relationship for a while with some awkward visits. It’s taken a few years to get comfortable and grow our relationship. Although we were robbed of many memories sisters share of growing up together we are making them now! I look forward to the many more good times and memories we will have in the future! Real ones-not imaginary!!

 

 

 

Warning- Sensitive Truths Divulged!

I’ve actually been writing as long as I can remember and I saved most things I wrote. It sounds contradictory but even though I share a lot of my life on various social media platforms I am a private person. I will try to keep this brief. The below pic is a letter I wrote in 11th grade before my third and last failed suicide attempt. Only a few people know about this. I’m writing this blog today in hopes that it saves at least one person who reads this!

We’ve seen this week in the news strong, beautiful people with everything going for them take their lives. I’ve seen people react with shock and also sometimes with negative comments. Why would people with seemingly perfect lives who have all available resources to get help do this? You won’t understand unless you’ve been in their shoes. I have. What I can tell you is what people show you about themselves is only what they choose to show you. All of it is a mask, a facade, a character they cling to make it through the day.

The people in your life view you as strong. Able to survive the worse life can throw at you because to them it seems you have. You seem this way while feeling empty inside except for pain. It’s hard to explain and I’ll try my best but the pain is not just relentless and torturous in your mind but is also actual physical pain in your stomach, chest and throat. A heavy, crushing, suffocating ache. It’s as if you’re outside of yourself watching life happen to someone else. The torment is exhausting. It’s all you can do to get out of bed in the morning. But you do. You get up and get through each day until you can’t anymore. And that’s when you make that final choice.

Luckily, for me, this was another thing I was not good at.  I was young and didn’t really know what I was doing. That’s why my attempts failed. The last one in particular had me feeling even worse because I felt couldn’t even succeed at ending it! When I knew the house would be empty one night I took a bunch of sleeping pills and filled the bathtub up and got in. After I drifted off my toes linked up on the chain of the stopper and nudged it out enough that all the water eventually drained out. Hours later I woke up freezing, sick to my stomach with a pounding head ache. Something or some divine being was always making sure I was not successful. And with this crushing realization I knew that this was my life and I had to find a way to deal with the pain.  I know now of course, how fortunate I was.

Later the only time I mentioned this again to my mother was in a principal’s office while at a meeting to determine whether they’d allow me to switch high schools. I basically and as a matter-of-fact stated unemotionally “I can’t take it anymore, If I stay here I will kill myself”. And with that I started at a new school not knowing anyone there. And this was pivotal for me. Within the first few days I met a girl who would become a very important person in my life. I credit her for saving mine. That’s really all it took. One person reaching out to me, handing me that life line that started me on my journey of healing. It didn’t happen overnight. The pain manifested itself in different ways over the years with an eating disorder, drinking and some dabbling with drugs. Also, to be honest, sometimes even now my mind and voice will get those moments again but with wisdom and life experience I’ve been able to conquer that voice.

All these years later as I’m here writing this blog I’m listening to the beautiful sounds of my boys, the barking of my dog at the birds chirping on my window sill, feeling the cool rush of air from my vents and enjoying this warm sip of tea! It may not be perfect but I embrace every moment of life now and know how lucky I am!

We really don’t know what some people are going through. I know we all get busy with our own lives but Please every once in a while check up on your strong friends and family.

And if you’re reading this and are in pain, use me as an example. Please reach out to someone. It gets better. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER. I promise you!

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