Dedicated to Uncle Peter

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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.

– – –

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.” : )

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4 thoughts on “Dedicated to Uncle Peter

    gmunden said:
    October 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    To M. and Cedar,

    I am saddened by the loss of Peter. Please accept my condolences.

    M., I am glad that you got to know Peter and had the nine years that you did have with him.

    Cedar, thankfully you found M. in time for this to happen.

    And last but not least this is the absurdity of adoption the creating a forever family out of strangers and those that are related to you are thrown aside.

    condolences on your loss
    Gale

    unsignedmasterpiece said:
    October 19, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    My son’s paternal grandmother died before I found him. She never knew he existed. ( I guess I needed a Darcie.)

    I’ve always thought she would have been thrilled to know him.

    My condolences to all of you.

    marionmcmillan said:
    October 20, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Cedar, I am so glad your son got to know his uncle,and please accept my condolences,for you,and all your family, and extended family.
    I feel like shouting Cedar, YES.YOU WON IN THE END.Adoption was the looser,your hard fight, and campaigning,is uniting NATURAL FAMILIES.
    Though this is the sadest of losses,I trust an inner peace,that your son and his uncle shared these times together.
    I will leave you with this thought, there is a genetic thread,that makes a lovely tapestry,
    that tapestry is your family Cedar, and Peter,and you, and your son,are woven together forever,what a beautiful thought,you were a part of each other.Now your sacred ritual of remembering begins.TartanHugs Marah66

    cheerio said:
    October 29, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss.

    I am so glad you son had the chance to bond with family, and that Unc Pete got to have his nephew back for awhile. I’m sure the times spent together will be memories that bring comfort.

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