I’m not someone that generally lives life with regrets, but not meeting Robina is one that I carry with me.
Robina was my dad’s daughter from a previous marriage, and therefore my half-sister. As I mention in the ‘About Me‘ section, when my dad divorced he took his eldest son, Roy, with him, but his daughter remained with her mother.
I had no idea this other family existed until a year after my dad died. Roy was getting married, and his birth-mother was at the wedding. She played a peripheral role, we were briefly introduced, but that was it. My mum was given the position of mother-of-the-groom at the service and reception. This was Roy’s acknowledgement of her role in his upbringing after his parents divorced – he always called her “mum”.
The ‘other’ mother, and half-siblings, were not mentioned in my household, even after the wedding. I suppose with my dad’s passing, it didn’t seem right to ask my mum any questions: in hindsight, I reckon I thought it was disrespectful to my mum to raise the subject. Maybe that’s just a convenient excuse. I genuinely don’t know why I didn’t broach the subject.
As my brother’s relationship with his new-found family developed, I had a few very brief discussions with him about them, but it all seemed so distant and unrelated to me. Although I now knew I had a half-sister, I had not met or seen a photograph of her. On that weak basis, she didn’t feature on my radar, and I made no effort to find out more. I saw her as Roy’s sister, and not mine. That’s the bit I feel most guilty about.
By the time the significance of having another sister dawned on me it was, to my great regret, too late: she had lost her battle with cancer. I still find it difficult to take that in, and wish so much that I had been courageous enough thirty-odd years ago to make contact.
A couple of years ago, her husband attended my brother’s second wedding, and I got to hear a little about Robina. A small comfort to hear how lovely and kind she was, but it truly upset me to realise I would never get to meet her.
Blood may be thicker than water, but I was too thick to realise it when it should have mattered.
Please, please do not set yourself up for regret. It’s a very tough emotion, and almost impossible to rectify.
Have you a family member, friend or colleague that you should be in touch with, but aren’t?
Do something about it, now.
“One doesn’t recognize the really important moments in one’s life until it’s too late.” – Agatha Christie