This July I traveled back to Calgary, Alberta Canada to celebrate my son’s 25th birthday and to meet his girlfriend. They are expecting a baby boy in mid-September (yes, I will be a grandpa for the first time).

During my visit, I was fortunate enough to meet up with my paternal brother Aaron, whom I first met in March, 2011. We spent three hours together as I drove him back to the family farm in Southern Alberta. I’ve always cherished that experience with him and I wanted to build on our reunion.

After landing at the airport in Calgary, AB I drove up to Red Deer to meet him for lunch. As we embraced again, I felt safe and I began crying, not realizing how much I had missed him. Our first ever lunch together, the conversation between us felt so easy and natural to us both, like we had known each other our whole lives.

After lunch, I was able to meet his girlfriend and his step-mother Kathy, who had welcomed me into the family when Aaron and I first met. Though Kathy and I knew each other through Facebook, we had never spoken on the phone before or met in person. Aaron spoke very highly of her and I wanted to meet her and thank her for welcoming me as openly as she has.

I ended up staying overnight at Aaron’s that night for the first time. Saying goodbye to him as he left for work in the morning was hard but I felt grateful for reconnecting again.  I wasn’t sure when I would see him again but I thanked him and told him I loved him.

A couple days later, I received a text from Aaron, informing me his mother wanted to meet me for a meal and get to know me. This news excited me but I was also a bit nervous. I called his mother and we spoke on the phone for a few minutes. We agreed to meet and so I picked her up at her house and went for dinner.

She was very open about my birth father, the father of her three sons. Sadly, he was a very abusive man both towards her and my brothers. I felt sorry for what they had endured by him and also grateful I was spared from that abuse. He had kept me a secret from her and my brothers. Had she known about me, she would have insisted we search for me.

Over the next couple of days, I helped Aaron’s mother pack for her move into an apartment, I was able to meet her sister, who happened to be married to a brother of my birth father (my paternal uncle). She would talk to her husband to see if he wanted to meet with me (which he did want to meet me).

A couple days later, I drove to their house to meet and go out for dinner. About a ¼ mile from their house, my fears of rejection overcame me and I had to pull over to compose myself. Finally, I was able to get myself together enough to drive to their house. His wife answered the door and invited me in. I felt very nervous and I held back tears. My uncle entered the front door behind me and we shook hands and he gave me a hug. We then proceeded to sit in the living room where they told me a lot more family history about my birth father and the family.

We went out for dinner and spoke more about the family and many other things. I felt very comfortable with them and I thanked them for meeting me and the wonderful meal.  This reunion could not have gone any better.

I flew to British Columbia for a few days to see my grandmother. While I was there, Aaron’s mother texted me, informing me her eldest son wanted to meet me as well. Thankfully I was able to change my travel plans and stay a few more days and the pieces fell into place. I drove with Aaron’s mother to Canmore, AB where her son and his family were attending a wedding.

We all met up for lunch that Saturday. With his 6’5” frame, he towered over me (I’m 5’10”) and his wife is 6’1” as well.  Our meal was at a local restaurant that served food from local growers. My brother and I sat across from each other. He answered all my questions and I answered all of their questions too. Again, I felt sorry for what our mutual bio father had put them through.

After lunch, we met up at a local park, which happened to have a car show there as well. The weather was beautiful, a true reflection of my new found relatives. We said goodbye as my brother and his family had to go get ready for the wedding. His mother and I went to Banff and spent the afternoon and evening sightseeing and having dinner.

I drove the car home and I talked a bit more with their mother. She had endured so much with my birth father that I could not possibly imagine what she went through. We embraced one more time and I thanked her for helping me facilitate meeting her son and my uncle. Although I miss them very much, I look forward to continuing our relationships in the future.