The Measure of a Man

Recently, I shared with you the fact that my brother Frank is very ill. Since then, he was admitted to hospital few weeks ago and was not expected to come out.

Frank is my half-brother; we share a common father. I have never met him in person; in fact I didn’t know anything about the paternal side of my family until a few years ago. Frank was the first person I spoke with when I made contact with that part of my family; his was the first letter I received.

I will always remember his first words to me, “Well, this is a surprise”. And I’m sure that was an understatement! Imagine being in your 60’s and discovering a sister that you never knew you had!

Toward the end of last week Frank was suddenly adamant that he be allowed to go home immediately. Arrangements were made, his wishes were respected, and he was taken home. Sadly, he wasn’t able to remain at his home for long; the pain was unmanageable and he needed to return to the hospital for it to be managed effectively.

Frank and his wife use a pellet stove to heat their home, and recently arrangements have been underway to install a new gas stove. In the short time that he was home, my brother was able to review the paperwork attached to the installation and approve the work to proceed.

Some of us are wondering if Frank’s urgency about going home had something to do with him needing to tend to this in order to make sure his wife will be comfortable in the coming winter.

Adoptees sometimes wonder about the characteristics of the family they descended from. We wonder what medical issues may have been passed on to us and we wonder what personality characteristics we might share with our family of origin.

Frank and I share some of the same DNA.

I hope we also share some of the same strength of character, honor, and integrity.

Update: Frank lost his battle with cancer later on the day this was posted.


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. I didn’t realize you found a brother. I can’t imagine that at all. Will you meet him?

  2. Interesting! In 1999, just months before my dad died, he told me that he had a daughter from a previous marriage that none of us children had known about. We knew about the previous marriage but not the daughter. My mother encouraged me to contact her and I did. The story that followed was quite amazing. When I was three her aunt came to my mother (Daddy was away at war) and asked if Ellajean could play with me and Mother said she could watch me play in the front yard but could not talk to me. How cruel! Ellajean took a small picture of me with her Brownie camera and carried it for more than 50 years in hopes that we could meet and become friends. I did contact her just weeks before Daddy died and we met at Daddy’s funeral and became instant friends. Unfortunately, she has slipped further and further into Alzheimer’s but we had about ten years of great communication and visits back and forth. We found that we shared many of the same likes and dislikes and traits. I treasure her as a family member! Unfortunately, my brother and sister were not quite as accepting and really missed out by not getting to know her. I even met her mother who was still alive at the time and she shared her scrapbook from the years she was dating my dad and told me many stories about my dad when he was in college.

    1. What an amazing story, Pat. I am sure that Ellajean treasured her relationship with you in the same way that I treasure the relationship I have with my birth sisters. How wonderful that you were so accepting of this woman – your half-sister.

  3. So sorry to hear of Frank’s death. To find a family member and then lose him must be very hard. *hug*

  4. So very sorry to hear about Frank. All the best to you. Whether you were raised with him or not, I’m sure the loss is still difficult. Take care!

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