Tonight I met my aunt and uncle who I haven't seen in over 15 years.
He's thinner and older and so much smaller than I remembered him, He's sporting a lovely long scar from his recent (six months ago) triple by-pass surgery. He's not lost a lick of his sense of humour and quick wit. (He had me on my toes in both official languages I might add - Canucks will understand)
[My uncle told me once that if you ever, ever find yourself lost in the woods, sit down, pull out a deck of cards and start playing solitaire. Sure enough someone's bound to walk up behind you and point out that 'you should put that red nine on that black ten.'
Et voila, you've been found]
She, somehow looks older but still looks exactly the same as she did fifteen years ago.
Seeing aging relatives after all this time drives the reality of mortality home with a sledge hammer.
What have I done with my life and what the hell am I waiting for?!
My aunt is a fiesty, good natured, complex woman. She used to scare the bejeesus out of me when I was a kid - that could be because I didn't know a lick of French at the time and she didn't speak a word of English. So I never knew what the hell it was she wanted me to do. But she was kind and patient and, well, family.
My aunt is adopted. Her father never wanted to tell her, but she said she always knew it, felt it. She was 64 when she finally found her birth mother. In her adorable, French Canadian spattered broken English she shared the journey with me. It was a long and twisted and heart breaking. I might have shed a tear or two but the restaurant was dark.
My aunt's birth mother, like the majority of mothers do, carried her for nine months and tragically, had to give her away - horrid small town mentality of the 30's.
After years of searching, they met in 1988.
Ironically, nine months after their meeting, the mother passed away at 84. (the same amount of time she was pregnant with my aunt all those years ago.)
There are details of the story that boggle the mind and I just sat listening to her talk about it all in awe of her strength and resolve.
I have to confess I wondered if JC would speak of his birth parents/adopted parents the way she did. Would he have the same far away, yet at the same time, intense look in his eye as he spoke about it.
It's nearly midnight and they are leaving first thing in the morning. I wish I didn't have to go into work. I would spend more time with them. Seeing them makes me want to go home and visit my immediate family. *sniff* Maybe one day.