My Brother, Frank

My oldest brother is gravely ill and I don’t know how I am supposed to feel.

I’ve known about Frank for about seven years since I made contact with my paternal family. I have spoken to him on the phone, we have shared letters, but I have never met him in person. Most of what I know about Frank has been told to me by our sister, Ruth. I have known her for about seven years as well. She speaks highly of our brother and, through her eyes, I know Frank as an honorable and hard-working man.

Today, I stood at the card section in Target looking for a suitable card I can tuck a letter into. I want to write to him; I want him to know I am happy to have him as a “big brother”. Hallmark doesn’t make a card for a brother with whom there are no shared childhood memories. I couldn’t find anything suitable for a brother who’s first words to his new sister were “well this is quite a surprise!”

So I found a blank card with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that said “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” It fits. Kind of.

I wish that when I reached out to try to find my birth-family almost thirty years ago, that I would have found Frank and Ruth, and our sister Miriam. I missed knowing our brother Ed who passed away a few years before I found the family, too. 

I missed a lot.

It is a strange position to be in and I find myself feeling unsure as to the right thing to do; I’ve never walked on this path before. This adoption-thing doesn’t seem to get any easier, it just gets more complicated.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. It’s heartrending, all of it. And I’m sorry Frank is sick. Please keep us posted.

    I like the Emerson quote.

  2. That’s a tough one Linda. He’s family…and yet, you never knew him personally. I think a card is perfect to let him know that you’re thinking of him and that you care about him. What more can you do than that? I’m really sorry to hear that you’re having to deal with this! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    1. You hit the nail on the head, Carmen. He’s family yet I never knew him personally.

  3. The quote was perfect! You could not have chosen a better one!
    Thank you Linda

    1. Thank you, Ruth. {{hugs}} Hope you’re doing okay.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.