Updated: Dec 7, 2020
The first time I met my sister was on the phone. I was shaking to my soul. We had never spoken. I didn't even know if she knew I existed. There are only a few kinds of intensity that match that day, and they include births and deaths. This phone call was not a physical life or death moment, but it was a time when I knew every second that ticked away would change me forever.
It all happened so quickly. "Who are you?" I'm your brother. "Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God." My sister was my connection to my silly Uncle Bob. She was my umbilical link to our brothers John and James. The next few days took my breath away, made me more sensitive to every word spoken, knowing I'd not remember the exact phrases, but determined to forever engrave the emotional cadence of every moment.
Mostly I remember the first words my sister spoke to me. "Oh my God, are you my brother? Are you my brother?" she screamed over and over again into the phone. "I've always wanted to meet you. I can't believe you found me. This is so amazing." Then silence, a gasp. I felt her realize, sharply and permanently, that I knew everything, that I knew who she was, who our brothers were, that I knew that our mother had died and that I would never meet her. Then I heard the words I'd always longed for and feared would not come. "Oh, Kevin, our mother loved you so much." I lost my ability to stand. "She always wanted to meet you. She always said if you found her she would welcome you with open arms. She never thought it was right to look for you and intrude on your life. But she loved you so much." I literally fell to the floor, sobbing, and forever changed. I had no words.
We all made plans for my trip to visit. For our "union". Landing in Denver I drive with the Rocky Mountains out my passenger window, struggling to keep my eyes on the road. I pull into the parking lot and I see my sister for the first time, I slam on the brakes, jam the van into park, fling open the door leaving it wide open, and rush to her, grabbing her with all of my might and holding her for dear life as she cries and laughs "I'm real. I'm really real." We finally take a half step back, still holding each other but seeing each other for the first time, her eyes grow bigger and bigger. She turns her face away, "I can't look at you. Oh my God, I can't look at you." I'm overwhelmed and confused, not hurt, I just don't understand. She won't look at me, but through tears she sobs "You have her eyes. You have mom's eyes."
All these years I'd been looking for her, wanting to look at her, to see her face, for her to see me. Yet somehow I had felt she was with me throughout my life, somehow by my side. I know now that she was closer than ever. She was right there in me. She is with me always.