Family Union

Categories: BlogBy Published On: September 27, 202089.2 min read1961 words22 Comments

Hi Everyone,

This is a personal post. If you don’t like those …this is the point in which you can delete the email, notification or post.

I post personal posts every now and again because this has blog has documented my journey in many ways. Personal, Business and Spiritual.

A few months ago I shared that I have a *new* brother.

My father is an unregulated schizophrenic ( or what they now call schizo-effective). This is a source of pain for me. On many levels. I have shared this struggle before. But my father was diagnosed after my mother got knocked up with me. Needless to say between the two of them their marriage was a wreck and lasted a few months. I have a brother that was born 14 months after me and he has a different father.

Several years ago a locator contacted me looking for my father. Turns out I have a brother, Aaron. Aaron and I are like twins in the way that we are so much alike. We immediately connected, bonded and something within us changed.

I will say that before I met Aaron, I was always trying to find the missing piece of me. I was trying to find out who I was. I felt like an orphan and that I didn’t belong to anyone. I was different than the family that I grew up in. I honestly thought I was adopted and nobody told me. I couldn’t believe that I could have been born to my mother.  I was supposed to belong to them…I was supposed to be one of them. But I wasn’t. I didn’t eat the foods they ate, I was more nurturing, I viewed the world differently, I like animals, I voted differently, I am a Christian…I could go on and on about a whole lot of things that made me a reject in the family that I grew up in. I have grown up knowing my father from a distance. Even when we lived in the same town. We would go to dinners, lunch dates and holidays or visits. But they never lasted long and everything was very superficial. When you have a mentally ill parent, particularly one that talks to make believe people and only has moments of clarity from time to time. It is hard to relate to that person. It’s difficult to know who they really are inside. I have nothing to compare it to. I didn’t know him before the diagnosis.

So I say all of that to explain that when I met Aaron and we could immediately finish each other’s thoughts, we could order off a menu and pick the same exact things, we laugh the same, we love spicy things ( we are both even starting to struggle with the spicy things physically lol), We can spend the whole day together without an awkward moment. We can just be together and know that we belong.  That missing piece that I was trying to find was suddenly there. Aaron has told me that he feels the same way. He didn’t even know he was adopted until he was in his 30’s. I wasn’t adopted but we both had that empty feeling. I think that is so telling.

Fast forward to July of this year and I get a message from another half brother, Jake. We were matched up on 23 and me.

Of course, impulse control is not a strong suit for any of us…..immediately we are talking, sharing and it took a few days before we were all 3 on a video chat. Within a week we had all decided we had to meet in person. As soon as the video call ended Aaron and I were still on the line and immediately Aaron said “he has our laugh” LOL.

Last week was that week. The week we finally met in person.  We were supposed to get photos. We only got one (we were too wrapped up in talking) on the very first dinner that we all went to at a local restaurant:

I am in the middle, Jake is in front of me and Aaron is across from him.

This was a great day. I can’t really say how my brother’s felt. I haven’t asked. But I will say for me. I felt comfortable. There wasn’t anything uneasy. We all laughed, shared, ate, and enjoyed our time together on that first day.

Aaron had come a few days before Jake so we had extra time together. I honestly wish we had more time. I really wish we all lived near each other.

On Saturday we went on a road trip to Spokane to have brunch with our father. It was a wreck. Aaron and I have tried explaining how ill our dad is to Jake. But he got a full display. Dad hasn’t been taking his medication for 3 weeks. Like most people with his illness they go through times when they think they don’t need it.

I will say that my father is very ill. Even when he is on his meds he isn’t what someone would describe as functional. Without meds….it’s unbelievable. Covid has not been kind to our mentally ill population. Before covid restrictions my father met with his social worker monthly at the same time, the same place with the same person ..like clockwork. He does well with his routines. He always made those meetings. She would know if he is too far off his rocker, Help him get med adjustments, fill his prescriptions, help him with paperwork that he needs ect. Well now for 6-7 months since things have been shut down. They mail his meds. You can’t mail meds to a schizophrenic. They just took him out of his routine. He doesn’t have anyone telling him he needs them, looking at him and knowing just what to say. On top of that they furloughed his worker and they assigned him another one who makes a monthly call. She doesn’t actually see him. How does that help? I can’t even imagine who thinks this is a great substitution for care? Who came up with this plan? Clearly, some idiot behind a desk that doesn’t understand what these people actually need.

So all of that to say….the visit was a wreck. My father has targeted me and all he could do was spout hate towards me and barely say hi to a son that he has never met. I left the visit and bawled my eyes out. My poor daughter ( she’s 17 ) was in the car doing her best to comfort me….LOL. But I don’t even understand. How was she going to understand? She was doing her best while being at a loss for words. I don’t even know why? I am weeping now as I write this because I just don’t even know what box to put this in? Except to say that I don’t even know if I will ever see my father again. I don’t feel safe with him when he is like this….one false move and I don’t think I should risk it. I also don’t know if he will survive in this current state because he is such a wreck. He is going to get hurt or someone is going to hurt him because he can’t function properly. I don’t even know how he can walk down the road without getting hit by a car.

There are so many layers of this …it’s difficult for me to process. But honestly I was truly hoping that Jake would at least get one glimpse of the man underneath the illness who is kind, charming, funny, and giving. We didn’t see any of those things.

I guess that leaves Aaron and I to represent.

In the end it doesn’t really matter that our father is a wreck. Everything in dealing with him is a chore. We can’t ever have a real relationship that any of us desire with him. Everything is very superficial. There is no digging deep with someone who isn’t all there. It’s just sad. makes me feel deflated and a little hopeless. You know that is pretty bad because my middle name is literally, Hope…I am never without hope. haha!

I also went with Jake to meet his older brother and mother. He took me to a few houses that he grew up in. I showed him where our grandma/Dad  lived and where our great grandparents lived. It’s so funny how all 3 of us lived in the same area. We all went to the same high school. We crossed paths so many times and we had no idea. Jake had no idea that one of his best friends in high school and the best man in his first wedding was actually his cousin. LOL! That cracks me up. When I told him ….there was some disbelief. I think it just goes to show you how strong some of those family connections really are.

Jake’s mom apologized to all of us. She feels like she robbed us all of a relationship. I have never for one nano second thought that. For one thing my family is so screwed up. Nothing shocks me anymore. Sad to say. But the other reason is that I believe in God’s timing. He has been orchestrating all of this from the beginning. I told both of my brothers its a good thing because I probably wouldn’t have liked them in our younger years….and I would have just stayed away from them. They were wild in their younger days. I have never been wild. My grandma described me as a 30 year old lady when I was 2. I have always been an old lady inside and I will remain that way. LOL I am just an old soul. No shame in my game.

All we can really do is decide if we want to have a relationship with each other and build from there. I think we are all open to see what unfolds. I am excited for that. I think we all have our quirks and similarities. The 2 brothers have some similarities because they are “dudes” and I happen to be in the middle of them, birth order wise. I am the straight arrow that they both kind of like to bend a little and make react to their stupid humor or philosophies. We are in a group chat and we touch base almost daily. It seems comfortable. I can already tell which brother I go to with certain issues. One is more emotional and I can confide in with my feelings and they will be validated and heard. The other one will be good for a laugh, will avenge my enemies and he is good for asking about a scientific theory. So I think I am pretty lucky. They both get a lethal dose of judgement and eye rolls from me…seems pretty fair. LOL!

But even if the extent of the relationship is only that group chat and a few phone calls here and there….I am happy with that. It’s better than feeling empty. It’s better than walking the earth feeling like you don’t know where you came from. Now I know.

To feel that way in my 40’s? It’s amazing. I praise God for that. There is always something to be thankful for even under weird circumstances.

This year has been difficult. For all of us. But now I will have another significant reminder of how good things happen during bad times.

2020 brought me another brother.

I hope when you are reminded of 2020 in the future you can think of some positive defining moment that will make you smile.

xoxo

Charisma

 

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. Brenda Holcman Johnsen September 27, 2020 at 7:38 am - Reply

    What a story to prove God’s timing is perfect. My adopted at birth husband just recently found eight sisters and two brothers, four and one each from his birth parents. The bond he shares with some of them after 67 years yests apart is uncanny. Bless you all.

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Thank you Brenda! It’s just amazing how God works, isn’t it?! I am so happy for your husband.

  2. Carol Klingeman September 27, 2020 at 7:58 am - Reply

    I think you should write a book, Charisma. Your writing style has such a flow. Of course your story is both uplifting and heartbreaking, but you are coming through victorious. Thanks be to God.

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:23 am - Reply

      HI Carol,
      Thank you. I have heard many people say that I should write. I often think about taking a writing course…in between everything else that I have going on. LOL! But for now I have to write a quilting book. :) God IS good! All the time!

  3. Sue September 27, 2020 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Charisma, during my long nursing career I’ve seen firsthand the problems with people taking not their meds regularly, ESPECIALLY with your father’s diagnosis, because when they start feeling better they don’t think they need them. It’s so hard and very sad.
    You and Jake look so much alike!
    What a situation for you. Wow is all I can say.
    Ps. I come from a very close knit family but we don’t all vote the same lol :)

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:22 am - Reply

      HI Sue, I know. the med things has always been an issue. always. But he seems to do better when he has his routine and social worker. I have 6 kids and many of them don’t vote the same either. LOL But there are many things that they do agree on. :)

  4. Tammie J. Coffman September 27, 2020 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your poignant story. Your quilts draw me in, and now I have some understanding of the meaning in the titles you have given your designs. May the creativity of our God continue to flow in and out of you.

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:20 am - Reply

      Thank you. art reflects life. I truly appreciate it.

  5. Patsy Futtere September 27, 2020 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Your insight and thoughts about the situation in which you live are remarkable. Your brothers are fortunate that you are open to the experience of knowing them.

    It would be much easier for someone with your background and life experience to play it safe and stick to a routine that would shelter you from the abuse and pain of the past. What a blessing you are for them! How wonderful that you have similarities that you find endearing.
    Companionship between siblings and the closeness you feel can heal so many heartaches. It is so surreal that you have connected as adults, not knowing each other as children.

    I hope and pray that your sibling relationships continue to be positive and heal the past hurts in your life. We all have the choice to eliminate toxic people from our lives. Recognizing that toxicity is the first step. Protect yourself and those you love. Love and light, sweetie! Stay safe!!

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:19 am - Reply

      HI Patsy, Thank you for following along and always being so kind. I truly appreciate it. life is never dull is it? haha. I wont accept the toxicity. I set healthy boundaries. Those are lessons I have learned along the way. It’s the only way that I can function.

  6. Nancy September 27, 2020 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Thank you for your honesty. I’ve known you long before you became a famous quilt designer but now realize that i didn’t know you well. Now I really love you “to the moon and back!”

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Hi Nancy, Famous quilt designer…I had to chuckle. LOL I am not exactly famous. But Thank you. Thank you. I love you too.

  7. Kathy September 27, 2020 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. So glad you got to meet your brothers. It is hard for us when we feel we don’t fit in.

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:16 am - Reply

      yes, indeed. I know your heart and that you have felt this too. Big hugs.

  8. Carol September 27, 2020 at 10:45 am - Reply

    No words. Just virtual hugs. ❤❤❤

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:16 am - Reply

      Thank you .

  9. Nancy September 27, 2020 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    I am so glad at that God has restored for you the part that was missing. I can not imagine how I would feel to find I had missed out on two brother and that they lived close by. I am sorry that your dad was off his meds and treated you so horribly. I believe that there is demonic control in schizophrenia…..not that the people are demonic, but they have been attached to them. When I worked in psychiatry and saw the images they drew and they told me what they heard in their head, as a Christian that is what I attributed it to. I think your dad was under that control, when he said those awful things to you, because darkness can not stand the light! All you can do is pray and put on your armor before you see him, and not see him alone. It is important that you remember who God says you are and how much He loves you! The world and the enemy will try to depress you and make you believe you are less than what God says.
    You are an incredibly talented child of God and He loves you so much! Never doubt that! God bless and keep you and your family!

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:15 am - Reply

      Hi Nancy, Thank you so much for your kindness. I understand exactly what you are saying. I have weak moments like everyone else. But in the end I always seem to rise above and know that I am here for a purpose and as part HIS plan. So I am reminded of HIS love and faithfullness to me. He has brought me this far. I trust he will carry me the rest of the way. He knows my sins, sorrows and pains. :)

  10. Laura September 27, 2020 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Charisma you are a true example of what Brene Brown writes in her books; the beautiful whole life we gain by being vulnerable and dealing with the shame the world slings. Praise God for your journey as painful as it is you are accepting it and sharing. You bless so many.

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:13 am - Reply

      Hi Laura,
      Thank you. I can’t be any other way. Life has taught me that we can’t have healthy connection through guilt, shame and hurt.

  11. Eddie Landreth September 27, 2020 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Such an amazing journey for you all to have wandered through and to then finally be united together at this point in time. I’ve always felt that the real world is so much more touching and interesting than fiction, and this proves that point.

    About 15 years ago, I received a call out of the blue from a woman named Teresa. I used to do genealogy a lot back then and had uploaded my extensive family tree information to Ancestry.com, so I was used to the occasional person contacting me about our shared family history. Teresa’s story was much more personal, though. She told me that her mother had recently let her know that her real father was my uncle, Albert. Albert had died in 1978 when I was just 17 years old. At that time, he had 5 sons. We had no idea at the time that he also had a daughter named Teresa. She had been born out of an affair he had with her mother, but no one knew about her in our family.

    During our call, she said she had a large favor to ask of me and told me she would understand if I declined. She asked if I would call one of Albert’s 5 sons (my cousins) and explain the situation to him, because she wanted to be in contact with her 5 brothers that she had never met if they were agreeable to it. I told her I would be glad to.

    So I called one of the 5, David, who was closest to my age and had been the one from the 5 that I had played with the most growing up when we went to my grandparents’ house. I explained things as delicately as I could, and he was stunned. He had no idea. And he said of course he wanted to be in contact with her. So that started a reunion between him and all of his brothers with their new and only sister they never knew they had. She lived in Florida and traveled to meet them all at a family reunion. I was so glad it turned out well for them. Sadly, she passed away about 3 years ago from cancer, but she finally got to meet her family. God does work in mysterious ways. :)

    • Charisma Horton September 28, 2020 at 10:11 am - Reply

      Hi Eddie, I know we don’t “know” each other. But I think we have many of the same insights and outlooks on life. I think it would be tragic if we were all as superficial and angry as the world portrays us to be. I think your story also brings beauty our of ashes. It would be terrible if these siblings never had a chance to connect because of something that happened so long ago that was no fault of their own. I am so glad they were able to have some time together. That’s how I feel about my brothers. Any time is better than no time.

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