long lost people

Apologies for the long absence.  Tough times for me personally and up here in Big Northeastern City.  April is a cruel month.  I’ll post more about that later.

Last night, I got a call from a number I don’t know.  I recognized the area code as one from the woodsier part of Northeastern State but not the number.  Eh, that’s what voicemail’s for, I thought and let it go.

And then I got a text.  It was from one of my cousins and she mentioned that my mother (boo, hiss) had said she should call me about some medical stuff.  I had two sets of cousins for most of my childhood.  I say “most” because my mother was adopted and found her birthmother and a whole set of half sisters with kids when I was in my early teens.  So that opened up another bunch of cousins.  All boys, which was funny since the two sets I’d had up til then had been all girls.  Three girls who were my dad’s brother’s kids (although my dad came from a pretty large family, all my dad’s sisters had endometriosis back when that meant unaddressable infertility) and three girls who were my mother’s brother’s kids.  My mother and her brother were both adopted.  Remember that, it’s important.

The one who reached out to me was my uncle’s second child.  Another middle kid.  I have the following associations with her:

  • She was always very pretty, in a fairy-like way.  Gorgeous long blond hair on top of the delicate features she and her sister shared.  
  • Young.  Always so young.  All of our cousins were younger than my little brother, which meant that the eldest of the cousin sets was still my junior by some years.  The consequences of this are that although I felt an affinity for the middle daughters in both sets, there was a bit of a divide since in childhood social spheres, age does make a difference in peer relation. 
  • Peppy.  Not crazed with energy, but peppy.  
  • Easily injured.  It didn’t keep her down, but she did fall a lot.  

Seeing her text, I immediately called her back.  yeah, it was late and yeah I’m gonna pay for that today but I had been thinking of her and her family so much over the last few months.  I think it started around christmas time and has just been picking up steam.  Not a week has gone by where I don’t think of them.  We weren’t super close.  My parents were just kind of isolated and aloof so this meant we didn’t get really close with any extended family.  So I’m not sure why this branch of my tiny family tree was on my mind so much but it was.  And when I saw her text, I thought “ok if this doesn’t mean we need to connect, I don’t know what does.”  The first thing she said was that I sounded exactly the same.  It’s been almost 20 years since I last saw her, and that was at my first wedding.  I’d be surprised if I said more than a paragraph to her during that since I was stressed and running pillar to post and she was sick and down for the count some.

The next thing she said was “so I hear you’re a zebra too.”

What is up?  Health wise, I asked.  Turns out that my cousin has very likely got EDS, definitely has POTS, heavy on the “T”.  And endometriosis.  The list goes on but I don’t want to put all of her health info up here like it’s mine.  This is an anonymous blog but still, not my right.  Suffice it to say, we have a hell of a lot of overlap in clinical presentation.  Although she’s cold intolerant

I was staggered.  At one point, she said “I feel like I’m talking to myself.”  And I knew exactly what she meant.  “Are you sure weren’t not related by blood?”  Pretty sure.  But boy that is some strangeness.  “WTF was in the water?  Doesn’t it make you wonder if there was something in our environment?” I asked.  But it’s not like we spent a ton of time together or at each other’s houses.  We lived rather far apart too.  We were on city water, she was probably on well water given the rather rural town where her family lived.

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  1. queenofoptimism

     /  April 26, 2013

    Wow. Glad to be reading from you.

  2. Wow! Holy weird! Glad you’re back, btw! 🙂

    Did your uncle ever find his family? Maybe you are really related, as your mom/brother ended up in the same area. I’ve heard so many bizarro adoptions stories from back then. My grandmother was born in the LES of NYC and put in an orphanage as her mother died right after her birth in the flu epidemic of ’18. My dad and I got really into genealogy a while back, but NY is a closed-adoption state and won’t release any records (identifiable), even though my grandmother is 94… Lol! Not sure about where they were born and the rules. What if you and Blonde Cousin are 2nd cousins or something? We found loads back in Chicago (grandfather’s side) and there are women–some long gone–who could be my twin looks-wise. It’s so weird as they’re so far away on the tree. I say DNA testing! It’s too rare! Well, HEDS is way more common than my Type II (1/50k), but still. Try 23andMe like my father for the fear of death–they can match your DNA up for a few Benjamins I think.

    • A: My understanding is that my uncle did find his birth mother, and that she was not interested in pursuing a relationship with him. The source of that info is my own mother though, and she’s prone to telling the story she wants to tell rather than one that is true. Usually she doesn’t come up with total lies though, so there’s probably some truth to this. I suppose we could be somewhat related. I don’t know my mother’s birth mother’s full family tree, and her birth father is a complete mystery since my biological maternal grandmother is as fond of stories…possibly more so…than my mother. First she said it was this Irish guy named somewhat amusingly Mr. Coffey (could be “coffee”, no idea on the spelling) who she was with but who had to go back to Ireland because he had already gotten someone there knocked up and needed to marry her. Then she said, many years later, “you know, after looking at your son” (to my mother) “now that he’s grown, I’m not sure Mr. Coffey was your father. He” (my brother) “looks just like this guy from a party I was at, Chico’s friend…”

      So, Chico’s friend or Mr. Coffey? Who knows.

      My primary care was telling me about that DNA testing service. He even printed out a thing on it. Did say it’s pricey. But he’s all about the data.

      • Fascinating! My mother is a big story teller too, although I have no idea where that came from. So, my dad did loads of these tests for genealogy and then the fear of death (he’s also convinced he’s really Sicilian due to his looks, but no). Your case is a bit complex as you both need each parent’s mtDNA (mother’s line) and Y-DNA (father’s line) tested, sure you’re totally aware of what these are. It’s possible you’re distant relatives, and that test would show it. I know my dad got a genealogy test that ran both sides of his mother’s DNA, as she’s the adopted one and he has the results on a website and we found a relative in Argentina who matched within 4 generations that looks like my evil grandmother and my aunt–so weird!

        I’ve heard the surname Coffey before (where?) so that is a correct spelling. So, I’m thinking you guys would need a test for both lines of each adopted parent (4 lines total) to get any possible match. I swear my dad didn’t pay more than $300 several yrs ago and I just saw some deals online, but you have to get that full test, which is the priciest. You could always put the results online for medical purposes (anonymous thing w/your e-mail). Good thing your doc is interested. Regardless, you have a cousin who gets it! Maybe you’ll find out you’re Jewish like me (which explains loads of medical problems)… LOL! Reminds me of that Fockers movie. Haha.

  3. Glad you are back! Nice that your cousin reached out to you. Weird. I tell ya. Small world!

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