Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Similarities Abound

My new big sister was born in Boston.
Our parents had a secret: they were both in college and, though they were married, put her up for adoption. Our parents told no one, and took the secret to their graves. There were a few things my father said to me nearing his death that are clearer now in "the light of day". He shared he had no regrets for the full life he had. Years later when the information laws changed in Massachusetts "My new big sister" contacted us. I am the youngest and was the last to be told. She had sent, via the web, pictures of original records and several pictures of her as a child and young woman. When I saw her photos I could not tell her and I apart from my teenaged years when my hair was long (when I had hair). The childhood pictures were the same. When I spoke with "my new big sister" on the phone it was like talking with myself, the same tone of voice, the similar laugh. Her meter of speech the pauses and points of emphasis were that of our father. Months later, she and her partner traveled to Louisville to look in the archives of our mother that had been collected and given to the U of L library as well as meet us, her sister and two brothers. The striking thing for me then was how she was our father, similar hands build, knees and mannerisms that perhaps only a child who had grown up watching his father could perceive. It doesn't end there, the blend of us all to me is amazing, the social attitudes, work ethic, strengths, interests and quirks.
She is my sister, and though we grew and lived apart, there is no doubt we have been struck from the same mold. My journey has led me now to Boston, and staying these days in my sister's home I see in its decorations similar tastes in color and decor to our father's as well as his love of gardening and more. A good visit with family without the baggage of a lifetime of childish mistakes and hurt that all families must endure and work past.
There is more, our mothers suffered from diabetes and passed-on from its complications, both our birth mother and "my new big sisters'" mother whom she cared for for years with her slow decline from diabetes. As with most everyone I have met on these walks, our families and the households of those we hold dear, are devastated by the varied forms of diabetes and it effects. This is not a similarity of family, but of a people, and one we all need to strive to change. Diabetes has its hold on the World. Diabetes effects too many cultures, and we all need to come together, like a family, to slow and reverse this.

If nothing else, be an advocate for yourself by being fit, healthy, and active.

I am happy to have this time with family. I will stay with my son another day to enjoy our rest, our "eddie" in the river which is this journey, Nice (the dog) is well rested and is anxious for action. There are people we need to meet tomorrow as we angle toward Maine, perhaps another mountain, certainly to meet new good friends.

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