August 15th marked the one year anniversary of my birth mother’s death. When she passed away I thought I would feel something, some evidence of a ‘cellular connection’. A tingle? A shiver? Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Lifetime Television. But at 11pm in Austin, Texas/5am in England I was just getting home from a lovely dinner with my husband. All I felt was slightly too full and a bit tipsy.
I’d known that Sandy was going to die. Two months earlier she had revealed to my half-siblings that a year earlier she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live. My half-sister Ingrid and I had been in pretty much daily long-distance contact ever since. I played the role of big sister: listening, empathizing, letting her rant, and occasionally being the voice of reason.
It was the least I could do. Especially since Ingrid had just given me the answer to a question I’d been waiting 27 years for.
Ingrid and I hadn’t been in touch since 2009, but last May something compelled me to email her. We first met in 1986, when I was reunited with Sandy. She and my birth mother had been on my mind for reasons I couldn’t explain.
Ingrid and I aren’t much alike in appearance or character but we share a strong sense of doing the right thing. Which explains why, just before Sandy died, Ingrid decided that it was only fair for me to know the name of my birth father.