Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Relatively Updated

A few of you commented that my post from last week seemed almost like a soap opera, a surreal drama. No kidding. And the more the story gets filled in, the crazier it actually gets. It's getting into serious family detail so I'm not going to post it all here for the world (all five of you) to see, but here's an overview.

I did hear from my half-sister via e-mail. We both agreed how bizarre it felt, how confusing, to try to figure out what to say to somebody you're related to but who is still a complete stranger. For myself, I sort of felt like the walls of my world were no longer quite solid. Even though I've known--in the abstract--about having a sister for many years, having it gain the force of reality was something more of a shock than I was expecting it to be. I can't imagine what it must be like for her, who didn't even know she had a sister.

Anyway, we have now each written an e-mail telling the other about ourselves--the strange, seemingly random collections of details that don't seem to be adequate to describe an entire person, an entire life. I wondered if mine sounded boring; boastful; unenthusiastic; overly enthusiastic; guarded; gut-spilling. I've heard more details from my dad, from her e-mails to him, and mostly they spark even more questions. But I also don't want to seem overly eager. I find that I have strangly conflicting feelings at various times: sometimes I can't wait to write back, to find out as much as I possibly can as quickly as possible about her. Other times I feel like I want, even need, to stand back a bit, to let it sink in; like I don't want to write back right away but to let the transition from abstract-sister to concrete-existing-sister move a bit more slowly. After all, the walls of my world just blew outward to include the continent of Australia.

3 comments:

MeiMeiLn said...

I can't fully imagine how this must feel. Your words really drive home the image of one of those wire balls you can buy at science centers...the ones that expand and contract with the slightest pressure, yet it stays together...sending you good vibes... :)

TadMack said...

I really really identify with these eloquently stated emotions! My dad had another relationship, oh, somewhere near the time right before he got married, so I have two brothers who are very near the age of my eldest sister... and I figured this out when I was, like, nine. It... felt...surreal. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have to absorb all of this as an adult.

I also comprehend the feeling of standing back and letting it all settle. It's still hard for me to refer to the one guy I speak to (see?) as my half-brother. Usually, I just call him Doug... he has kids and grandkids, but they're not family to me.

a. fortis said...

Thanks, guys! It's amazing how many people have half-relatives from prior marriages...another friend JUST got in contact with HER half-sister, not a week before I was contacted by mine. What I can't imagine is how weird it must be to suddenly find out I exist. Rob pointed out that, if she had children young, I could be closer in age to her children than to her. That's a trippy thought.