Since my original Stage 4 diagnosis and more recently running out of treatment options, my major worry has been the effect my death will have on family and in particular my wife Gail. I have always been extremely lucky having had the support of an extremely close family, both siblings and extended family and I know that they will always be there for Gail in the future. However Gail’s childhood was spent in care and she never experienced that close family bond as she grew up. She always knew she she had a brother out there somewhere and always longed to find him.
Gail’s father died in 1962, whilst in the RN serving on a submarine and docked in India. Gail was 4 years old and her mother was 6 months pregnant at the time. Gail’s brother was born with a hole in the heart and spent his first months in hospital. They were both put into care and were fostered together for just over a year, before they had to change foster parents. Unfortunately they were separated at this time and Mark’s new foster parents eventually adopted him, whilst Gail continued in foster care and children’s homes. Once old enough, both tried to find each other many times, but old adoption laws, amongst other things made this very difficult.
However we were given renewed hope of finding Mark just before we flew to Cyprus last Christmas and, whilst there, we finally found his adopted name and a current photo of him. Amazingly a search on Facebook found this to be his profile photo and his posts confirmed that he was still actively searching for his sister. We immediately messaged him and they were talking on the phone within half an hour. On New Year’s Day, soon after our return to the UK, Mark came to stay, with Gail meeting him as he got out of his car and leading him indoors by the hand, almost like she was still the 6 year old and he little brother, just as they were when they last saw each other over 52 years ago. Since then they have spoken or whatsapped daily and last month he came to Cyprus with us, giving them the ideal time to get to know each other after all the years apart. Last week we celebrated his 55th Birthday with him.
Whilst he lives 100 miles away, I know from the time we have spent together over the past months and seeing how their relationship has built so quickly, Mark will always be there for Gail in the future.
Sorry about the long post, but I couldn’t condense it any more.