I got in the car Wednesday and the song “Who Are You” by the Who was on the radio. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal. Turns out, that day it was the soundtrack for my existential crisis. I burst into tears.
Wednesday, right before I got in the car, she called me.
I’m so grateful for that. I was able to thank her for giving me life and for giving me up. I was able to tell her about her amazing grandsons and to let her know I’ve had (and am having) a great life. I was able to tell her my parents wanted me to pass on their love and gratitude.
I was able to ask about my birth father. And get his name.
Who Are You
I don’t want to reveal details of her story that she hasn’t wanted to reveal in the nearly 46 years I’ve been alive, so without going into too much details. Know that I have heard her voice and it was a gift.
My birth father has been dead for a number of years, but I’m hoping to get in touch with his daughter, another sister I didn’t know I had.
I’m hoping I can at least get some photographs of my birth mother, even if we never get to meet in person.
A couple in the congregation I serve does a lot of genealogical research, and I gave them my birth father’s name. They traced his ancestors back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and back to England in the 1400s (this is my paternal grandmother’s line). They traced the paternal grandfather’s line back to Ireland. They found a Revolutionary War veteran in case I decide I want to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. They even found pictures online of relatives.
These were the first family pictures I’ve ever looked at (other than my kids’ pictures) and wondered, “do I look like any of these people?”
Who Are You
I, of course, am the same person I was before my birth mother called me, before I knew my birth father’s name, before I’d found a picture of my sister.
I’m not an artist, but I feel like the information I’ve received in the past few days has been the equivalent of taking a perfectly fine drawing and filling in more detail to make it even more beautiful and complete.
Or perhaps think of a cello playing the melody line of a song and then listen again to the song with the rest of the orchestra joining in.
I don’t feel my life or identity has been in any way inadequate before this information was added to the mix. I do feel a few more pieces have been added to the puzzle of me.
At the end of this rather amazing week, I’m grateful. I’m so thankful my birth mother called me. I’m so glad I got to tell her I love her and thank her for giving me life.
I hope to hear from her again. I recognize I might not ever hear from her again. I remain grateful for the 10 minutes I got to speak with her this week.
I’m still answering the “Who Are You” question. I suspect we all are, one way or another.
Who are you?