Archives for posts with tag: life

Where to even begin. Since my last update I feel like ten thousand things have happened and my brain has thought of little else. It has been four weeks and three days since I first heard the name from my mother and it’s been on repeat over and over. Probably the longest stretch of time in my life, and sadly it’s just going to continue to take even longer.

I reached out to my potential cousin and aunt, and explained the situation as best I could. One thing I’ve learned quickly was that there really is no graceful way to approach this subject with the people involved. It’s awkward, it’s weird and for those on the receiving end it’s completely out of left field. But, I keep reminding myself that I exist and should not apologize for it. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop me from feeling like a crazy person intruding on people’s lives.

She was understandably skeptical, but very kind. She reached out to her brother and followed up with me explaining that he did say it was a possibility and she left the ball in his court to reach out. To this day he has not, which is probably for the best. I’m waiting to make contact until DNA can confirm or deny.

So just after Christmas I get a text from Virginia excitedly exclaiming that she knew the potential half brother I had shown her pictures of and that she was calling him first thing in the morning to get him to take the DNA test. My stomach instantly had a fit, but I was thankful for her complete lack of fear in this situation. I hadn’t been being that brave thus far. So she did as she said she would and made that call, and within a couple of days the test was in her hands and she met with him in a coffee shop. She kept telling me how calm and confident he was, and how she felt like a nervous teenager on a first date. I can only imagine I would have been the same. Virginia and I used to talk for hours about what my dad must be like and scheme ways that we could try to track him down. Obviously the loosely knit plans of a pair of 13 year old girls didn’t yield much by way of progress- but she has been one of the people closest to me in this journey. She knows how important it has been to me for so long. She dropped the test in the mail that evening and then the excruciating wait began.

In the meantime, with the help and advice of two outstanding facebook groups, I decided to do some research to see if I could link his family tree with that of some of my existing DNA relatives. I went to work drafting his family tree, learning as much as I could about the family, relatives and history. Watching it all unfold was addicting as in my mind, it really felt like I was finally learning more about where I came from. I spent several days engrossed in Ancestry.com’s archives, adding, editing and researching. Then, a breakthrough. A notification sprung up that one of my DNA matches shared both a surname and a location. I investigated further. Upon looking I saw similar branches to her tree and my own, although much of hers was marked private. I sent a message briefly explaining myself, and heard back shortly with a phone number. I called right away and spoke with the woman who owned the tree. Her stories confirmed what I had found- she and I shared a common ancestor from my potential father’s tree. What this meant is that I share a definite blood relative with this family. With the predicted genetic distance from this relative, it would certainly add up for him to be my father.

So all this evidence, all this data and speculation and photos continue to add up all pointing to my search being over, and I still am left not allowing myself to get excited. My brain is refusing to let me celebrate or cry or relax into this knowledge. Not until the DNA test comes back. So I will sit here and continue to wait, and obsessively check the status of the test. I am hoping I will have the results by the end of the month and it seriously can’t come soon enough. I keep playing back in my mind what it will be like to see one way or the other, and I can’t really say what I am more afraid of- it being positive or negative. I have built this moment up in my mind for so long I don’t really know what to do.

I woke up to a text from Ben’s mom this morning, as I sort of expected I would. She told me that she would be spending the day at the beach with his sister and nieces, and planned to plant a Larkspur in his memory in the garden. I didn’t really know what to say back, but told her that sounded like a lovely day, and let her know I had dinner with her brother Mark and his wife Kay and their family the night before and was thankful to spend more time with them. Uncle Mark was the officiant at our wedding, and always he was one of the uncles that Ben and I felt closest to. Always a great listener full of helpful advice, funny stories and lots of wisdom. The love he has for his wife and family is so strong and palpable it’s contagious.

The Bradshaw family has always treated me as one of their own, and being away from my own family I am particularly grateful for that. His parents always had a refrigerator to dig through, cable TV and a comfy couch to kill time on. After we parted ways, I lost (and missed) that comfort. Dinner last night was something I needed. A family together, siblings, cousins, children, probably 15 people or so. Everyone gathered around a table, sharing a meal and stories. When they prayed, I also went to my knees and silently thought of how thankful I was to be surrounded by people who loved me. While my relationship with Ben was tumultuous, we were very much in love and I always felt like a member of his family. Always accepted without condition, even though our beliefs differed greatly.

Ben would have been 30 today. A milestone that I had no doubt we’d experience together at one point. Our birthdays were only 3 months apart, so I always had a good few weeks of “old man” jokes before it was my turn. I started the day wondering if there was anything I could do in his memory, but as the day progressed I found myself just thinking about him a lot. I’ve found that most of the hurt and resentment I had felt over our split has mostly┬ádissipated, as I expected it would. I’m becoming more adjusted to the reality of the situation, but pangs of sadness hit me from time to time. It seems that I’m not the best at the memorial rituals, but he’s on my mind today- as are all of the wonderful, loving, beautiful people he left behind.

I was right. It was fate. Tupac bought my car. I’m so thankful, and I’m seriously looking forward to having some wiggle room in my budget. Savings? Yes please. Paying off debt? Sure, why not. Braces? Yup. Plus, we’re fishing for a roommate so that should make the money scenario even better. This summer is gonna be good! I sense a vacay.

We all know that May isn’t my month (particularly this past May)… so I’m welcoming June 1st with wide open arms. The Vegas trade show, my sister’s 21st birthday, the Makeup Artist show in Los Angeles- I’m going to be a busy bee, buzzing around with all sorts of fun things that make me happy. I really can’t wait. It’s a clean slate, a fresh start and I’m happily getting my normal positive mental attitude back. After sister’s birthday, I can start planning for my own awesome birthday celebration. Dirty 30, here I come- and hopefully I’ll be welcoming it while sprawled out on a beach, slathered with SPF, and holding a drink fashioned out of a coconut with a teeny umbrella in it.

Tucson day tomorrow, then a three day weekend. Srsly, can’t come soon enough. I’ve been playing catch up from having so much time off work, it’s been a lot harder than I thought it would be. Plus, I’m still not totally operating at 100% quite yet. I get extremely tired by about 5:00, so much so that I get home from work, sit on the couch and literally lean over and nap for like an hour. I’m still sore, but improving slowly but surely. I am feeling turbo fat though, so I am anxiously awaiting my doctor’s thumbs up for working out. My clothes still fit okay, I just hate being so sedentary. I go for walks but even that’s getting tiring since it’s so hot out. Soon! I have to remember it hasn’t even been two weeks yet. I have been thinking about starting CrossFit when doc clears me, and the guy looking at my car today just happened to be a CrossFit coach. I’m pretty sure it was a sign from the universe. Especially because his name was Tupac.

Oh, and this Memorial day (appropriately enough) is the 20 year anniversary of my father’s death. It’s really strange thinking that it was that long ago. My mom was my age, and with a 9 year old and a 10 month old baby. I can’t even wrap my brain around what that must have been like. I mean, I was a wreck after losing my ex husband. It hurts my heart even thinking about what it must be like losing a husband that you are happily married to. It was no picnic losing a dad, but I have to imagine what she went through was so much worse. I am thankful for how strong my mom was through it all, and how wonderful and supportive our family was. Plus, all those hardships led us to having my step dad in our life, and I can’t imagine not having him around. Silver linings, right?

On a lighter note, I have so much to look forward to this weekend! Phoenix Comicon, picking peaches at Agritopia, a wedding… PLUS a three day weekend. Expect lots of interesting photos.

 

I’m in Tucson on business tonight. It was a really busy day preparing for a big training being facilitated by a National educator tomorrow morning. I had a lot to do, and I felt awful throughout most of it. Today was probably more painful than yesterday, but I really think it’s because I over exerted myself. Too much moving around, driving, lifting and carrying. Note to self- do less of that stuff!!! Seriously.

I’m really ready to be back to 100%. I haven’t gone for a run in weeks. I’m tired of feeling tired all the time. I’m sick of pain meds. I also haven’t gone #2 since Thursday and I’m starting to look pregnant.