“OHANA means family, family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” -Lilo and Stitch
This is a piece I’ve been waiting to write about for quite some time. It has only been a month since my beloved Aunt Sue welcomed Uncle Lars and Aunt Julia into her home and evidently, our hearts. Though they only stayed for a few weeks, their impact and lasting impression has remained since.
What first I thought were a pair of lovely strangers soon became a piece of my family that had been missing for much longer than anyone would know. This is the condensed story of how a long-lost family member found his way back home.
Lars (Born in Amsterdam, living in Denmark) is the youngest child of my long-departed great grandfather, Bob. Bonnie (grandmother) and Sue (aunt) are his elder half-sisters born from a different mother in the United States. Though Bob and Ida (great grandmother) remained married until their last days, he would never forget the love that Lars’ mother and him shared when they met. He did not get the chance to meet his youngest child and only son, which I’m sure that he regretted every day. My uncle and his mother had a very open relationship, and he knew all about his father and the sisters he wasn’t sure he’d get the chance to meet.
Fortunately for us all, my Aunt Wendy set up our family tree on Geni.com, allowing for Uncle Lars to stumble upon it when he typed his father’s name. There, he found how to contact his sisters (with Aunt Julia’s help) and the rest was history. My Aunt Sue and him exchanged messages and talked on the phone for months before he set out to meet her in person. They quickly developed a wonderful connection. I recall how often my grandmother and aunt would say that they’d always wanted a brother when they were younger. Born precisely 15 years after Grandma Bonnie (to the day)…To me, this feels a lot like fate.
Although I do not currently have a photo to show for, the resemblance between Bob and Lars is incredible. See the siblings in the first photo below, where you can certainly witness their similarities. It was also amazing to see how my dad (born 2 years after) and uncle were very much alike as well. These two men carry themselves very proudly and tell stories with such a light in their eyes, you can’t help but smile. Two lovable personalities.
My sister Bonnie and I had the pleasure of also talking with Uncle Lars’ two youngest daughters, Victoria (15) and Benedicte (13). These girls are so kind-hearted and we look forward to getting to know them better when we meet in person (which is hopefully soon). Like their father, they welcomed Bonnie and I with open-arms (virtually, of course) as we did for them.
Since meeting, Aunt Julia and Uncle Lars have also made every effort to get to know each person in the family. Though time was a burden, we all made every moment count and it was really amazing. Bringing these two people into our family has been nothing short of a gift. I can’t say enough good things about them and am very excited for the next time we will meet.
It’s easy to view this situation from the outside-looking-in and perceive it as imperfect. I say that it’s these imperfections that make a family real. What was wonderful to know is that nobody closed their doors to these two, and the whole family made sure that my aunt and uncle knew and felt they were welcome.
Below are some photos of the memories we created in our short time together.