I am thankful for "family of the heart."
Last weekend, my sister Dixie and I traveled to Mason City, Iowa to meet two cousins we have never met.
Their father, our father's brother, abandoned their family when they were merely preschoolers.
My Uncle Ernie, Aunt Darlene, and their daughters, Linda and Diane have hearts of gold...and are not only the family historians...they are the family reconcilers!
They found Mary Belle and Sam; they traveled great distances to meet Mary Belle and last weekend Sam traveled from Montana by way of Nebraska to meet us in Mason City.
My father was one of ten children--Darlene and Marilyn are his two remaining sisters alive. My cousin Cheryl joined the reunion and my heart was full.
Sound simple enough? No, it's complicated.
Have I blogged before that my father is not my biological father? My beloved siblings are my half-siblings? And, the family in the photo--who I have loved dearly from afar--is not biologically mine?
I was 48 years old when I discovered this truth....a truth that rocked my world and left me feeling as though I had gone to sleep with both legs and woke up as an amputee. I had to learn to walk again and the past several years I have learned to accept that I will never know who my biological father is.
I, do however, know who my Heavenly Father is and I am so grateful that He placed these people in my life--one way or another!
I am so grateful that my sister and I were able to experience this reunion together. It was an astonishing reminder that while we may not be related by DNA and circumstances prevented us from meeting earlier....we are family! Family of the heart!
I am so thankful for my heart-relatives; those who have repeatedly assured me when discovering the parental snafu(!)....that it didn't matter....they loved me and I remained their niece! Of course you say?
Well, of course! However, that must not diminish the love they have extended to me and the joy I feel for being part of their hearts! Yes, it is expected that after 48 years, the love would remain the same in spite of such divisive news--and still, my heart is nourished, it is blessed by their love! Their love helped me learn to walk again as I stumbled through the shocking news, the unraveling questions, the injured heart. I am whole....because I have been loved by my "family of the heart!"
Welcome to the family Mary Belle and Sam!!!!