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With my brothers in 2014

My brother and I with our half-brother (center) in 2014

In the post, A Journey to Brother Love, Part 1, I shared how as an adult I was shocked to learn I had a half-brother. I only met him once, 18 years ago. The opportunity arose to meet him again recently. I didn’t want any regrets, so I traveled to see him.

From the moment we were reunited, my brother was friendly and open, even greeting me with a hug. It felt very welcoming. He is a charming and engaging man. Yet for me, the time spent together was surreal.

What do you say? How do you communicate with a brother who was raised by maternal grandparents since he was two years old because his mother died and he was abandoned by his father (my father)?

Does he even want relationship with me (us)? After all, we were the chosen family.

My parents were married for 17 years before they divorced. I was nine years old at the time. I had my own wounds. It took me years to work through them and forgive my father.

My brother is on his own journey of healing and forgiveness—as are each of us five siblings, from three different marriages. We share the same father and the same DNA, but we all have carried different wounds from the generational curse of abandonment in our family.

I don’t have any wounds related to my half-brother, only compassion for what he endured and experienced, not knowing his earthly father. He has had to come to terms with two dramatically different tales of his abandonment.

Where was he on the spectrum of forgiveness and healing, I wondered.

Except for one private conversation we had where he recounted to me the story of his miraculous reunion with my father after 52 years of separation, our conversations weren’t really about that. I listened as he talked about his previous marriage and painful trials with his adult children. Every time he talked I could see and hear my father in him. My half-brother wasn’t raised by him, but my father is unmistakably in his DNA.

At the end of our visit, I still didn’t have the answers I sought. So I invited him and his wife to walk me into the train station to say our goodbyes. I didn’t want any regrets. I prayed and let my heart lead the way.

The conversation that ensued was perfectly ordained by the Lord. It started off tearful for me as I admitted I am a sentimental person. I think we both said what we needed to say and cleared the air about our own personal father wounds. I already knew I wasn’t alone in my struggle to overcome my past, and I wanted him to know he wasn’t either.

The icing on the cake for me was being able to share with him my sense that our father was at peace in heaven. Shortly after Dad died, I had a poignant spiritual encounter in church while praying. Shortly after that, Dad acknowledged that he hadn’t “been there” for me. The veil had been lifted for him and his denial was gone. That encounter was very comforting to me, and I hoped sharing the memory with my brother would bring him some healing and closure also.

So was my family visit for my healing, or my brother’s healing? I think it was for us both.

My journey with my new-found brother is just beginning. It took my Journey to Mother Love followed by my Journey to Father Love to find it. When our journeys are bathed in our Heavenly Father’s love, it will end with healing and hope; because His DNA is what really binds us on our pathway to wholeness.

~ Ardis A. Nelson