Family Reconnection

She Is Resourceful – Sharon’s Story

I consider myself a fairly resourceful person and have always loved a challenge. A few years ago I decided that I should research my family on my mum’s side and complete a family tree. Once that project was completed I asked my husband John, if I could start researching his. He was very reluctant. He rarely spoke of his biological family as he knew very little about his background and what memories he did have were vague and painful. He had been raised in a foster family and had been told by his foster mum that his natural mother had died giving birth to him. He grew up believing that his mother’s death was his fault and as a result his remaining family wanted nothing to do with him. He remembered very little of his life prior to being fostered other than the fact that he had a brother and a sister.

I was convinced that there was more to this story so without my husbands’ knowledge I decided to start looking for information about his mother. I scoured the records for 1945, the year he was born and the year she supposedly died. I eventually found her death record in 1947. I ordered the death certificate; it confirmed that she had died of tuberculosis not, as he had been told, in childbirth. I shared this news with John believing that it would bring him some peace, but it didn’t, the hurt surrounding his past was deep.

He was curious enough however to join me on an adventure to the cemetery in the area where his mother had lived. It was a very spooky experience wandering around the overgrown graves with the mist swirling around us but unfortunately we found no further clues to his mother’s story. I then contacted our local council and asked them if they could give us any information on where John’s mother may be buried. They did. The following weekend we visited her grave and there it was right in front of us, the date of her death, 1947.

‘Well, 1947 isn’t 1945 is it?’ said John. He was finally convinced. All these years he had believed a lie and here was the truth right in front of him.

The grave was clearly well tended and so I asked John if he would like to leave a note at the gravesite in case a family member came to visit. He agreed and so I quickly scrawled on a piece of paper ‘Whoever tends this grave we believe we are relatives of yours – please can you call this number.’

I had written down my mobile number in case John got ‘cold feet’ about the whole thing and so kept my phone charged and close. We left the note in September but as Christmas grew close we had not heard a thing. On December 21 my phone rang. Our adult children had visited the gravesite and seen a man and a woman arrive just as they were leaving. As they arrived back at our house my mobile rang once. That evening it rang again. It was my sister in law, John’s biological brother’s wife.

‘Can you tell me if this is John? We have been looking for him for years?’ she asked.

Both of the brothers were initially very apprehensive about speaking to each other. For the first two weeks my new sister-in-law and I communicated on the brothers behalf. We eventually arranged to meet up at their mother’s grave on 1st January and then go to the pub for lunch. That day John spoke to his brother and later his sister who was now living in Australia, for the first time in 58 years.

The following year his sister came over to the UK from Australia. What an emotional reunion. Since that time the relationship between the three of them has blossomed. They realized that John’s foster mother had fed them all lies for fear that she would lose John. So much sadness and hurt because of the deception and fears of others. But so much happiness now the truth has been uncovered.

June, John and Jimmy together again after 58 years.

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