Out of the Blue

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 51st week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Which is probably what you’re all thinking as I put in an appearance after…how much time?  Way too long and I’m too lazy to go back and check.  What can I say?  Been busy.  Been distracted.  Been tired.  Dealing with family drama (you don’t want to know) and Mom drama, and trying to stay sane and not turn into a total bitch.  (I’m already a partial one, I fear.)

In the midst of all that, my father-in-law died.  He’d been going downhill slowly but steadily since he fractured his hip back in January 2011.  He spent ’11 and ’12 in and out of hospitals and rehab.  The doctors thought he might be having mini-strokes.  His diabetes was all over the charts.  The night it happened, he’d spent the day visiting with his wife and her family.  All seemed well.  He was in good spirits and looking forward to being released to go home.  That evening, when the nurse came in around nine to check on him, he was unresponsive.  Gone.  He snuck out the back door when no one was looking.

This past Saturday, the mother of my friend Kristen died unexpectedly.  I met Kristen when she was a swab at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.  (Although, come to think of it, she may have been out of “swabhood” by the time we met.)  At any rate, we’ve grown close over the years and I consider her my daughter.  I’m grateful that her mother, Laura, saw it that way, too.  She was more than willing to share Kristen with me and let me be a “co-mom” and part of her daughter’s life.  In fact, she embraced it, happy to have someone close by who Kristen could lean on at need.  Laura, I’ve since learned, had several major health issues.  Who knew?  She kept her private life private and didn’t talk about things she could do nothing about.  She slipped away quickly, peacefully, in the moments between a phone call to her husband and his arrival back at the house . . .  and her family is rocking, rootless, in the wake of her passing.

(If you want to hear an incredible “woo-woo” story that took place at the time of her death, let me know.  If Kristen okays it, I’ll tell the tale.)

What’s the point of all this?  Nothing you don’t already know – that life sneaks up and swats you upside the head when you least expect it.  But it isn’t always about bad things.

Yesterday, I received an email from a Gene Hersey.  He was trying to locate my sister Rhonda, who’d posted a query on a genealogy website looking for information on Cliff Hersey, her father.  (He and our mom split up when Rhonda was little, long before Mom met my dad.)  Long story short, Gene is half-brother to my sisters Rhonda and Cheryl!  He’s known about them since he was little and has always wanted to meet them.  Before the Internet, there was little way to begin such a search.  When the email addresses Rhonda had posted turned up bust (due to several moves on her part), Gene went into overdrive.  In a bit of sleuthing worthy of the great Sherlock, he found out our mother’s maiden name, entered it in a search engine and found my posts on this blog…where Rhonda had posted a comment calling me ‘Sis.’  He located my website, followed my contact link, and VOILA!

I’ve put him in touch with Rhonda and Cheryl, as well as my niece Michelle, and he can meet the rest of the family as things unfold.  But what an amazing thing.  My sisters knew of their half-brothers (there are 2), but all were stymied until now.  And, in a round-about sort of way, I, too, have gained a brother (at least as far as Gene is concerned), something I’ve wanted my whole life.

Funny old world, full of greys rather than blacks and whites, fraught with moments of loss and gain.


About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
This entry was posted in Family, Friendship, Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Out of the Blue

  1. Michelle Perkins says:

    and he and I have been talking via email and text and I thank God for this gift…and you Pup for helping. Love you

  2. Sorry to hear of those sad losses but how wonderful to reunite with long-lost family! I have managed to locate one or two of my cousins on the Ancestry website which is awesome!

    • Isn’t it?! I’ve recently reconnected with some “long lost cousins” on FB and got to see them again after 30+ years. Wonderful. It’s a bit extraordinary to me that my sisters have finally been located by the brothers they so much wanted to meet. And how terrific that they want to adopt me as well, even though I’m not related. Seems most of my family is made up of people I’ve chosen to bring into it.

  3. Linda McGee-Grimes says:

    You are without a doubt the most amazing person in the world. Your awesome!!! I am overjoyed when I get an email and its you. You make my day!

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