Super-wife and I were sitting in our usual spots on the couch watching an episode of Dowton Abbey when I plugged the name of my brother, Claude Thorpe, into Google and it shot back his obituary from a New York newspaper. I was incredulous that it was him. He was somebody that I heard of from the time that I was a small boy. He was never more than a name occasionally talked about and written about in old letters.
But, he was my brother. Actually, my half-brother. We shared a father who had him with another woman. As an aside, can you call a half-sibling a brother or sister? I am choosing to call my half-brother, a brother because I feel he is. I had one other half-brother and a half-sister. So, that's two brothers and a sister.
When I found the obit from the paper, my eyes were glued to the reality of family that I never really knew. There was a cautious excitement. Then I decided to ask my friends for some help. I went to Facebook and my 800 plus friends and shared a screenshot of the notice of my brother's death and asked for their suggestions to find out more.
The responses poured in within minutes. Wow! A neighbor who knows her way around the web and who has an inquiring mind poured her heart into finding more. A friend in St. Louis joined in. A family-member in Maine offered some info. More than 40 responses in a Facebook thread that took place over a couple of hours.
Where do I stand with this?
I know more than I did before. My brother became a little more real and a couple more holes in my personal identity were filled in. I will keep working at this. It's not over yet. I wish I could have known my brother before he died. He had my dad's name.
I find myself remembering what our pastor said in a sermon about identity. "Remember who you are. Remember who you are. Remember who you are." For too many years, I let my identity of my earthly father rise higher than my identity as the child of my heavenly Father.
I would still like to know more about my dad and his side of the family.