It started when I was 9. Living in Brooklyn Center, MN with my parents and sister. I think (this part is foggy) that my parents sat us down and explained that we had 3 other siblings, 2 brothers and a sister. And then my sister arrived for a 2 week or so visit over the summer. Ok cool, I'm not really the oldest child. And I adored my sister Robin. And loved getting to meet her even though our time was short. And still remember wanting to be like her. She taught me how to crack my neck via rotation. Thanks sis, it feels great now!
So ok, when do we get to meet our brothers? Don't ask. Ever. That was a forbidden subject and because their mother had brainwashed them into hating our father, they didn't want anything to do with him or us (so we were told by him).
Ok, fast fowared to the teen years. Something is missing from my life and my heart, but what the hell is it? What is this incomplete feeling about anyway? I want to find my brothers and reunite my dad with them. No way Jackson, don't even think about it, do NOT pass Go and collect your $200, it is NOT happening. AND DON'T BRING IT UP AGAIN.
Fine then I won't. But I never forgot or stopped trying behind dad's back. Ever.
Fast forward to 21. I get a phone call from my mom. She says, "Dad's heart is acting up and he's not doing so hot, you better get over here to Fairview." He suffered from P.A.T.'s. I think that's Pulmonary Aortic Tachycardia. He spends several days and nights in the hospital to try to get his heart back to normal. No meds are working.
I write a letter. And ship it to Dallas, TX. Where I think I have found my brother. No response.
That I know of.
Dad finally get out of the hospital and I come home one day. He says, "Did you write a letter to the boys?" I said, "What boys?" (I had forgotten I wrote the letter by then) He said, "Dennis and Duane." "Oh yeah, I did because you were so sick." And it started. The rant and rave of my father. God Bless Him, but he had a temper and DO NOT PISS HIM OFF. 1000 reasons why I shouldn't have written that letter were rattled off to me in a matter of seconds.
OK THEN. FINE. WHATEVER.
Fast forward to after Monique was born...the year 2000. I do a family tree via a Creative Memories consultant and started asking my dad about his side (and scrapbooking was born). Enter the internet into my life.
Hello world. Hello other Marlar's of it. I search and search and search. I find my Aunt Thelma Marlar. My dad's only living aunt. And lucky for me, his favorite. I tell dad waiting to get my butt chewed again. Not this time. He calls her. And catches up with her. And raves about her cast iron skillet cornbread. And her Aunt Jemima collection. I talk him into going to Rosston, Arkansas to see her, to reunite with her. HE DID! While he was down there I think he mended some fences. Those fenceposts were getting pretty rotten. He had the opportunity to visit with my Aunt Mat as she was in the hospital. She ended up dying not to long after that, like days afterwards. In August of 2000, I decide to go down and visit my new found cousins and meet my new Aunt Thelma. 6 months after that, Aunt Thelma passed away quietly in her sleep. He was glad he went down there. And thanked me for reuniting them and perservering.
In the meantime, I'm still searching for relatives. And family history. And geneology. No luck finding the boys. Or anyone immediate for that matter. There's still a void in my life, even though I have my own children now and am married. Something's missing. WHERE the hell is it?
Fast forward to the fall of 2007. Dad has been gone awhile now. And I still feel guilty that I didn't get to tell his other children, Dennis, Duane, and Robin. THEY.NEED.TO.KNOW. It's their biological right, even if they didn't have anything to do with him, he was still their father. I write another letter. This time to Robin. No response. Fine, I've done my duty and let y'all know. I was at peace then. I had come to terms with never finding or seeing my brothers and any and all Marlar's. I put my name all over the internet, freely. Tonja Marlar Trump. Just in case. Google me, I dare you. I'm all OVER this electronic world. For good reason. This EXACT reason.
Fast forward to May 7, 2009. I'm at work, trying to look busy and work hard. I get a message on Facebook. It's from a lady named Jeannette. Hey Tonja, you don't know me but....and the story unfolds. She is married to my brother's half brother, Mike. (Dad was married twice before my mom. Margaret is the biological mom to my siblings and Mike) NO FRICKING WAY.
PLEASE DON'T MESS WITH MY HEART GOD. I read, I jump up and go share with the office girls my newly found news. I go back to my desk and read some more. My brother is WORKING in SAVANNAH. (Almost passed out here) Jumped up and ran to the office and cried as I told the girls. PRAY he wants to meet me. PRAY he wants to move past the hurt. Another email with pictures. OMG that is my dad in those photos. EARS and all!! Phone numbers are exchanged and I send some photos (all that Yahoo will allow me). I call Jeannette and Mike. We talked for an hour and 42 minutes. It was like talking to my best friend. Like we knew each other forever. Come to find out, I have a BUTTLOAD of nieces and nephews and I'm a GREAT AUNT!!!! Y'all know I ain't old enough for that shit. Seriously. A GREAT AUNT.
9:30-ish, May 7, 2009. The phone rings. It's a Florida number. I answer. It's my brother Dennis. Where do we begin? First I have to tell him I'm too young to be a Great Aunt. He's got to control his children. We laughed. And giggled. And explained. His story and my story had come together in the middle. He had the same feeling. That void. That emptiness. We are more alike than either of us knows. He laughs like dad. And sounds like dad. ALOT. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was talking to my dad.
30 years I've waited and tried and tried and tried and waited and tried. 30 YEARS.
It was an episode made for Oprah. (Who treated me to lunch yesterday as well, thanks O!)
We will meet for the very first time ever tomorrow, as we both have to work today. Dennis is actually in Hinesville, which is about 45 minutes away from us here in Collins. That's the closest I've EVER been to my brother. (He's lucky I didn't have the Ford, or I woulda gotten the address from Jeannette and surprised him. And went there. Like immediately, I was that stoked and excited.) We talked a while longer, and he said, "Love you sis" before we hung up the phone. It's been a long time coming. But that void is gone now. I don't think I've cried this much ever. Mission accomplished. My life's Mission and a lifelong dream will be accomplished and realized tomorrow when we meet for the first time. (Duane, don't think you're getting out of any of this either..you're next on my list!)
Truly, God had a hand in all this. He sent an Angel named Jeannette to reach out to me and to reunite us. It truly is another Miracle and Blessing.