Through a series of events, God heard the desire of my heart. In 2000 He gave me back to my birth family. It was verified and official. I not only had three sisters, but four, yes, four brothers! I felt so blessed. My oldest brother Bill immediately welcomed me into the family. I think he was as excited as I was. It was a miracle from God, and it was magical!
Bill delighted in including John and I into Thanksgiving and Christmas. He brought out family photos and tried to give me a life time of ancestry in several hours. He was a father figure at 21 years older than me. We talked on the phone every week, he came to our house for dinner, and we ate out in Omaha together. He was the one to make sure everyone was o.k. One Saturday, winter evening, we had just started a fire in the fireplace. We were enjoying the last of special wood we had, when Bill called. When he heard we had started a fire, he said, "Well did you have the chimney cleaned first?" No, I said. "Well you better put the fire out, cause that is dangerous if the chimney is dirty!" There went our fire, because we figured he knew what he was talking about.
My next oldest brother, Frank, I never got to meet. I found my family or it was verified by Lutheran Family Services on a Wednesday. On Friday, John arranged to take me to the cemetery where Mom and Grandma were buried in Omaha. When we got home there were messages from Brother Bill. Frank had a stroke and was in the hospital. Before we could respond, another call came to say another stroke had taken his life. He knew I had been found, and was very glad!
The hard part was meeting the rest of the family at his funeral. It was awkward, and bittersweet. We did not want my reunion to overshadow the family's celebration of his life. Everyone was excited to meet me. The story had spread. Brother Virgil, Mac as he was known kept his distance. At the funeral, his daughter told me he wasn't ready to meet me. He was always Mom's protector, and he wasn't sure about my agenda.
Halfway through the lunch after the service, he agreed to meet me. He soon realized, I just wanted the family I never had. From then on, I spent a lot of time with him in conversations. For a time, John was an interim pastor at his Church. A month later I met my youngest brother Mike at a family Memorial Day picnic. We were amazed at how much we looked alike. He bemoaned the fact that he was the baby of the family, now I was.
The common thread in all my brothers was football and horse races. We all loved to watch both! For the first time in 57 years, I knew where I belonged! I was home! Mike lived in Arkansas and then Oklahome, so Bill and Mac were the ones I saw most often. It was Mac that visited my adopted Mom in the nursing home, and came to her funeral. As with our Mom, he was all about Moms and family. He was there when I had my knee replaced, and often came to our apartment for coffee and conversation.He was the one who brought our Mom to life for me. When he visited her everyday in a nursing home, he recorded their conversations! He shared all those with me.
Virgil cared for his twin sister, our Mom, then me, because even though he tried to hide it, he had a tender heart. He was caring, and protecting of the ladies in his life. Those living I. The same town, especially benefited. When Mac went to be with Jesus on my Birthday two days ago, it was hard to deal with. Yet this is one more bond between us. God's hand was on it. We had come full circle. We were separated by my birth, God reunited us years later, and God took him away again on my Birthday!