100 Years

I haven’t posted in a while (don’t you DESPISE posts that start with that phrase?), and a lot has happened in in that time — the death of my mom, my emergency gall bladder surgery last week, the adoption of our second Pomeranian — but here’s something that has to be posted today:

Today is my birth-mother’s 100th birthday. She died in 2007, but still, she was born 100 years ago today.

The point of bringing this up, of course, besides commemorating a milestone of the only genetic relative that I know about, is to announce something that I probably should have mentioned back in April when I first found out: First the first time in my entire life, I have information about my biological family.

I’ve always known I was adopted, and since I turned 21 I’ve had my birth mother’s name (Coral Marie Clifford), but nothing else. Ever since I’ve had access to the internet, I would do an occasional search on the name, but invariably turned up NOTHING.

Then, toward the end of March, an amateur genealogist on Ancestry.com sent me an email because we had some DNA markers in common, and a list of surnames in her family history. I told her that I couldn’t be of any help, since I was adopted and was only in possession of one biological family name. I told her the name, plus the city I was born in, but didn’t expect it to go anywhere.

The next day she sends me another email … this time with a link to my birth-mother’s page on a funeral home website.

I had always assumed that my mother was an unwed teenager, possibly holed up with out-of-town relatives for the winter and spring, but apparently the truth was a lot more complicated than that.

That funeral page showed me not just her dates of birth (she had me when she was 38!) and death (she lived to be 90!), but also the names of both her husbands (I’ve since come to figure out that I was born between the two marriages, and I’m thinking that the second might be my father, since we share a middle name, but that’s only a guess) and the name of a brother that died in 1963.

I still have no clue as to what anybody in my genetic family looked like, but still: Overnight I went from a genetic blip, with no past or future, to at least having a lifeline to my blood-related past.

And today she would have been 100.

I wonder if anyone else in her family is taking any kind of time to remember this one life, and subsequent death, and this day of a huge personal landmark.

And somehow I think they’re not.

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