Normally, telling someone that your brother came to visit is is nothing out of the ordinary, but in my family, this visit was anything but ordinary. You see, my brother and sister from my father’s second marriage and I only reconnected a couple of years ago through Facebook. Through no fault of our own, though we are very close in age, we were not given the opportunity to grow up as family or even get to know each other. What a gift finding them both has been, filling in the missing pieces of family that we lost as we all came to be in the cracks of one marriage ending and another beginning.
I very much feel like our reconnecting was meant to be a chance for us to heal the wounds of the past for our parents. We had no part in what happened, in the hurt and pain, but we paid the price of losing out on having a relationship with each other. We have been given a reprieve, an opportunity to turn what was a very sad situation into a happy ending, a new chapter, and that is exactly what we are working to do.
I am fascinated looking at my brother, as his physical appearance is so like our father. However, he has an incredibly sweet and gentle nature that I never experienced with Dad, with the added bonus of a great sense of humor. Though Andy grew up with our very tough and often emotionally distant father, he grew into a wonderful man; hardworking, intelligent, and a devoted husband and father. I was so happy to find that not only do I love him because he is my brother, but I truly like him and so enjoy spending time with him and learning more about his life and the good man he is. I feel the same way about my little sister, Leanne.
We are able to fill in gaps for each other, as I can share stories about Dad from the first part of his life from the tales I heard from Mom and our older siblings, and Andy tells me about Dad from his perspective. Our father was a complex man, someone who grew up during the Great Depression, who served his country in the Army for thirty-three years, fighting in three wars. That would change anyone- how could it not? As I have grown older, I have let go of the hurt and anger that I held toward our father. I realize that he was doing the best he could with who he was and the effects of his own life experiences. In letting go of our own ambivalence about our father, we are able to find love and appreciation for the many good things about Dad, things that we recognize in ourselves.
I posted a photo on Facebook that Andy and I took, never noticing something interesting that had happened with the light until someone pointed it out…a heart reflected on my chest. I smiled and shook my head. It seems that we made our parents- our angels- smile. We plan to do lots of that for many, many years to come. Love always wins…such a beautiful thing.