Thank God For Facebook: A Story of Reuniting, And It Felt So Good!

Even as a toddler, I was overly protective of my little sister.

I decided this week to take a break from lecturing all of you on saving money, investing correctly, and budgeting. Instead, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you an amazing story that culminated into one of the happiest weekends of my entire life. I sincerely don’t believe that there are enough words to express the intense joy I experienced over the last two days, and I couldn’t have done it without our modern technological wonder that is Facebook.

This past Thursday was my sister’s 30th birthday. I know what you (and everyone else I’ve had to explain this to) are thinking. “You have a sister?!” Technically, Sara is not my biological sister. She and my half-brother, Marshall are half-brother/sister (they share a father where Marshall and I share a mother). Although none of the same DNA flows through our veins, Sara and I were extremely close as kids. As you can see from the picture above, we were introduced to each other at a very early age.

Boy, I sure grew into my head, didn't I?

It was easy, since we were the same age when our parents were divorced and we were kids who just liked the idea of having someone else to play with.

Although we didn’t grow up together like Marshall and I did, we corresponded by mail and were able to see each other whenever my family made the trek to Olathe, Kansas where she lived. I have great memories of playing in her family’s basement, watching Disney cartoons, drawing pictures and visiting animal farms. We shared stories about our lives, even our first crushes (tune in next week for more on that). Even as a child, I was amazed at how much love I had for someone that I wasn’t related to or romantically involved. To this day, it doesn’t feel strange at all to call her my sister or say “I love you”.

Another fantastically flattering picture from the "Slice of White Bread Heaven" collection of Scott Clark

Somehow over the years, we lost touch. I couldn’t tell you how other than that the distance made it difficult for our busy lives to keep a close relationship, especially without the visits which became few and far between in our high school years. Ten years ago I was working for a company that sent me on a sales trip in Kansas City, and a light bulb went off in my head. I decided to look up Sara to try to reconnect. I learned that she was not only married, but also had a baby girl, named Autumn Sky. I met the three of them for dinner and learned that I had the most adorable niece in the world. Don’t even try to argue with me, just trust me.

Not long after that visit, I was heartbroken to hear that Sara was a single mother. To this day, I couldn’t tell you how we lost touch again. A few years later, I desperately tried to get in touch with her again, but no one in my family seemed to have any way to get in touch with her. I was crushed that I would never have another opportunity to see my sister or my niece ever again.

If I had an opportunity to shake Mark Zuckerburg’s hand, I would refuse…and instead insist on a big bear hug. Thanks to that nerd’s pop-culture phenomenon known as Facebook, I came upon Sara’s Mom’s profile and immediately inundated her with questions about Sara and how I could get in touch with her. I was so obsessed, I grew worried that I had ruined any chances just by looking like a weirdo. But I was given her e-mail address and shot her an immediate message with my cell phone number begging her to call me. She finally texted me out of the blue one night, and I was elated to be talking to her again even though I couldn’t talk to her directly.

Then tragedy stepped in. Max, my step-dad and Sara’s biological father suffered a severe heart attack a few weeks ago. Marshall and I learned on a Thursday night right around closing time that he was having quadruple-bypass surgery the following morning around 10:00. Two hours later, we were in a car on our way to Tulsa to see him and the first doctor we saw gave us a 50/50 chance for him to survive the procedure. He called his condition a “widow-maker”. It was a rough weekend, but he pulled through the surgery with flying colors.

Thankfully, Max is recovering at home now.

Five minutes before the surgery, however, Sara called me out of the blue. Her Mom had seen my posts on Facebook telling everyone what was happening and informed her right away. Imagine the bittersweet moment for me. I was finally able to talk to my sister after ten years, but under horrible circumstances. Instead of catching up on lost time and telling each other about our lives, I had to explain the possibility of a fatal situation.

I decided that weekend that I was going to do whatever it took to see my sister again. With my bags packed for the weekend, I left directly from work at noon on Saturday and headed for Kansas City, arriving around 8:00 at night. I checked into my hotel and headed to the restaurant where I was to meet Sara and my now 10-year old niece. The reunion can only be described as euphoric. Sara and I picked up right where we left off, and although I was nervous about Autumn taking to me, we hit it off famously. Of course I brought presents for both of them. I have a lot of catching up to do if I’m ever going to earn one of those “world’s greatest uncle” mugs, right?

After dropping Autumn off at a sitter’s house, Sara and I headed for a local watering hole and spent the rest of the evening catching up, laughing, listening to music and just sharing each others company until the wee hours of the morning when I finally retired back to my hotel room. We were to meet the next morning for brunch with the rest of her family before I headed back to Rockford.

The next morning brought the highlight of my weekend: taking my niece to Best Buy to spend the gift card I had bought for her. I tell you, people, this was the most amazing hour of my life that I can remember.

After one day, Autumn called me her "favorite uncle". 🙂

Autumn is the absolute sweetest girl you could ever imagine. If you had seen the two of us walking through the store together, you would never have guessed that we had just met the day before. We were instantly family, and I was enormously happy.

 

The 8-hour drive home left me alone with my warm heart and happy thoughts of rekindling the love of my long lost family. It also left me alone with my thoughts. I had missed on the opportunity to see my beautiful niece grow up because I allowed myself to lose touch with Sara. I was incredibly lucky to stumble across the two of them after all of these years, but I shudder to think what had happened if I had never found her again. Plus, I feel like I’ve lost ten amazing years.

I would like to challenge the rest of you to consider those relationships, whether friends or family that you’ve turned your back on the past. Perhaps you and a parent were at odds and haven’t spoken in years due to anger. Maybe words were exchanged with a friend that were taken the wrong way and a simple communication could fill that empty space. Or maybe, like me, you’ve simply lost touch because of a busy schedule. Consider reuniting with that loved one before it’s too late and you regret the lost time. Don’t let a near-death experience finally push you over the edge of communicating with someone that you were close with at one time. Believe me when I say this: it’s totally worth the effort.

A picture 10 years in the making

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~ by Scott L. Clark on January 31, 2011.

5 Responses to “Thank God For Facebook: A Story of Reuniting, And It Felt So Good!”

  1. Really sweet post, Scott. I’m so happy for you 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love it! I agree about facebook. I have found some people I thought I would never talk to again and it is the best thing to happen to me. 🙂

  3. What a heartwarming story to read on this cold, snowy day! Congrats on the added family.

  4. Sounds to me like you are not the only lucky one! Sara and Autumn are pretty blessed to have such a caring person in their lives! I love the happy ending, and now the happy beginning, to your story.

  5. […] this, you ask? Fast-forward to present day and the advent of Facebook. Not only have I been able to reconnect with my sister, but I also recently found Cecelia on there as well. She’s been married for almost ten years […]

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