On Saturday, our family received sad news: my son’s uncle had died. This was Uncle Peter, my “ex’s” younger brother. Full of life, and only 38, he died very suddenly from complications of leukemia.
Peter had been diagnosed with leukemia last year, and had spent several weeks in the hospital receiving treatment. The diagnosis was sudden and unexpected. Since then, he had been having regular radiation treatments, and we had been reassured he “was doing fine.” Last Saturday, the phonecall from my son’s father to him, was a shock.
I have not seen Peter for ages. Since the loss of my son to adoption, I have always felt like “persona non grata” in that family. The “girl” who had the audacity to at age 16 actually have a serious relationship with their eldest (against his parents’ wishes). I know that they pressured “X” to break up with me — he told me this afterwards. They thought we were “too serious,” and he never told them of our plans/intentions to eventually get married after high school. Likely this pressure was the reason why he never told them of my pregnancy, my incarceration in that wage home, or the birth of our son, until my friend Darcie threatened that if he did not tell them about our newborn, she would. And knowing the “force of nature” that was Darcie, she would have too.
So, the last time I actually saw Peter, he was a tall and broad-shouldered pre-teen with bright blond hair, probably no more than 10 or 11 years old. But the birth of M. bonded together our two families. And, like adoption, the events that transpired split us apart. So, the family of my “ex” has always been present, yet not present, in our lives. A family related, bonded, yet so far apart.
But because of this bond between our families, I cannot help but think of my son’s uncle as being a sort of “former brother in law” to me, or that the father of my son is “my ex.” Having a child together formed a bond as solid as any other type, even if no emotions remained between us after “X” and I went our separate ways (other than, perhaps, anger). We share a child, who is so much like both of us. I see his fathers’ face and hear his father’s voice every time I look at him. I am certain that his father, “X,” sees me in our son’s smile and his long curly hair. And our families became permanently “bonded” by the existence of our child, related to both of us, belonging to both families.
When i found my son, almost 9 years ago, he found he had an aunt, Leslie, and an uncle, Peter. He and Peter shared a love of large machines, and M. had always hoped to find time to spend with Peter to learn how to use his excavator.
Nine years later, Peter is dead. I sat on M. ‘s bed when he told me the news. And I admit, the second thought that came into my mind, after the huge shock and sense of loss and disbelief was “I am SOOO glad I found you so you could meet him.”
If I had not, if open records did not exist in B.C. or if I had waited until M. had “come out of the adoption fog” and searched for me, he would never have known his uncle. He would never have known this part of himself, his family.
So I dedicate this to Peter. Your lost (and found) nephew loved you. And I am so glad that he was able to get to know you.
Rest in peace. You are truly loved and will be missed, by more people than you will ever know.
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Postscript: Peter’s obituary was published this morning, written by M. ‘s father. In the list of aunts, uncles, in-laws, and other family members and relatives (including an adopted cousin), M. ‘s name as Peter’s nephew was never mentioned. Adoption hurts. When asked, his father said that he “forgot.”
p.p.s My son says this is a good post and is officially “M. -Approved.” : )