I didn't know 5 of the people in the picture, and I barely knew the 6th. The world when I was born was much different than the world of today.
I didn't even know who my father was (top middle in the picture) until I was in my teens. It was a big secret. My mom was only 18 when she had me, and wasn't able to be with my father, who was much older and had a whole other family. My father was apparently quite the charmer. And he was doing the kind of thing most people frown upon. He and my mother were never together, but before I knew him as my father, I knew him to be a friend of the family, an "uncle."
Several years ago I met my half siblings and their families. It was quite an incredible experience. It was actually the death of my father's sister that in some way brought us together. I never thought I would get to meet any of them. And I wasn't sure they wanted to meet me. The fact was, most of them didn't even know I existed to meet.
Today I have some contact with them, but it has been minimal. Probably more out of circumstance than anything else. Oddly enough meeting them there was a comfort level of sorts that one doesn't usually have with "strangers." This picture was compliments of one of my sisters. It is of my grandparents, two uncles, an aunt, and my father. My father had had a twin who died I think around the age of 5. I had been told that he was identical, but was then told by my sisters that his brother was actually a fraternal twin. I always wondered if I had kids if I would have had twins.
I am pretty certain, too, that if I indeed have the BRCA gene...it was a genetic "gift" from him, and apparently not the only one. Before I knew who he was, my grandmother had told me that I looked like my father in a then recent school picture. Given I didn't like the picture, I wasn't sure what to make of it.
There is more I would want to say, but in the back of my mind I wonder if I am somehow going to get myself into trouble if I do. Maybe at some point. It is hard to share about oneself in isolation. Much of life is interwoven with the facts of others' lives and how it comes to affect mine.
Occasionally I wonder what it would have been like to have had a more traditional upbringing. As a kid, I used to cry because I didn't have a "mommy and daddy like everyone else."
This journey through my past is something else. It is raising so many emotions. So much muck.