I wanted to share a deeply personal but incredibly exciting story that has been unraveling for the last month. I can’t tell you how Habanos I have smoked while these events have played out. Two or three a day has been the average, and it has allowed me to decompress and relax as my life has taken several unexpected turns ...
Two weeks ago, after 36 years on Earth and 20 years searching, I found my father and my father’s side of my family. We’ve spent the last two weeks getting to know each other, catching up on decades of life, and processing the enormity of the revelation of finding long-lost relatives.
I have never known my father or had any relationship or contact with him. This means that I also did not know his name, first or last. This cluelessness was problematic growing up and again when I became a Father myself for the same reason: kids. I often have had to try, often in vain, to explain (as a child myself and also as a father) how it is possible I don’t know my father or even know his name. It all made sense to me, even if I didn’t like it, because I had long ago resigned myself to this reality. But children, especially ones of my own, were relentless in their questioning and search for the truth and so, then, was I.
Fortunately, advancements in DNA analysis, including matching others who have had their DNA analyzed, has led to incredible discoveries in recent years and, especially, in recent months. Earlier this summer, I was able to separate the genes in my DNA that I inherited from my mother and those that I inherited from my father. Not only did that enable me to determine that I am of Latvian descent on my father’s side of the family, but it also allowed me to find genetic relatives from my father’s side of the family.
Less than a month ago, I located three people that I matched with as genetic relatives on my father’s side of the family who are members of the Timlick family in Seattle, Washington. Two of those people were cousins of mine, and one was my aunt. My aunt only had one brother, George, and he is my father. Just being able, for the first time in my life, to say I know who my father is and that I have found my father’s side of my family is an incredible, remarkable feeling. And if the story ended here, I would be grateful to have found closure.
As much as I prepared for many years for the eventual moment in my life when I found my father, what I didn’t, and probably couldn’t, prepare for is the complete and unconditional way in which I have been welcomed by my father’s family. I’ve struggled for weeks to explain in words how validating it is that at the end of this journey, I was embraced so warmly by people I have known only days or weeks but regard me as family nonetheless. Humbling is a word I have used often.
Also, an incredible revelation in itself, I have five more brothers and sisters; they are all younger than me, between 34 and 22 years old. They are Bethany, Steven, Julie, Sam, and Grace, and they are among the most beautiful people I’ve met in my life. I couldn’t have imagined or hoped for a better welcome into the family as even my greatest expectations have been exceeded.
I have been blessed beyond measure with a loving and supportive family since the day I was born. Much of that is thanks to my mother and her strength and support over the years, and especially the last few months, while I searched for my father and my father’s family.
So now begins the next journey … I have this family, these beautiful family members, and so much to learn about them. Here’s hoping that this journey takes all the rest of my days.