Love in the Olden Days
For Better or for Worse, But Not for Lunch

Keeping in Touch

Ten years ago, I learned that I had a half-sister who was 21years older than I.

I welcomed her into my life and now I know her daughter, her son and her grown grandchildren. It's like having a whole new family, and I am only sorry that we didn't meet sooner.

On Sunday, I caught up with another relative, a niece who has been pretty much out of touch with her father for a long time. It has been years since she and I last talked. She is now fifty-two, and she found me through Facebook.

I can't help but think about how much we lose by not being in touch with people we share so much history with. I couldn't do anything about my half-sister because I didn't know she existed, but how could I not be in touch with my niece?

She was born when I was a sophomore in college. I was so excited to be an aunt. Her father and mother had married in college and became parents at 22. I loved my sister-in-law and I thought she and my brother were the ideal couple. But at 22, you're really not who you are going to be and their marriage didn't last very long. I kept in touch with my sister-in-law, but as the years passed, we became less close, and when she was dying of lung cancer thirteen years ago, I wasn't there for her.

Now my niece is a happily-married successful professional businesswoman who has written two books. She and I talked on the phone for more than an hour on Sunday. Then we emailed back and forth a few times before the end of the day. We will find a way to see each other before 2009 ends.

When I told people about my newly discovered half-sister ten years ago, most had heard of a similar situation involving newly discovered siblings or other relatives. I think that in my parents' generation, there were a lot of secrets. People didn't talk about divorces and lots of other things.

Things have changed for the better.


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