For 18 years I have been surrounded by a family who has been hiding the biggest secret from me. All these years I felt like I was living in the perfect home with the most ideal family, but soon I discovered it wasn’t all that simple. My family consists of a very loving and caring mother and father, and two older brothers that I am forever grateful to have in my life. My brother Matthew is 20 and brother Joey is 31. As the youngest I became extremely close with my brothers, especially Joey who I built such a strong friendship with. He is the true image of a brother.
Joey and I were inseparable growing up. We constantly would spend time with each other and he was always there for me. I had my struggles growing up and Joey was the one who was always in my room talking to me and telling me it was going to be okay. He left for the military when I was 10, news that would leave a scar on my heart forever. Even though I lost my best friend when he left, distance could never break our friendship.
The day before I left for college was a day filled with emotions and stress about leaving home. Although, this day also included my father having a very serious talk with me. Of course, I was thinking that this was going to be my pre-college talk just like every student gets before they leave, but I would soon learn differently.
“You know your mom and I met at a very young age,” my father begins with. My heart immediately drops to the floor. I immediately feel pain in my chest. I didn’t know what he was about to say. I didn’t want to know. The next few words that he says are a total blur to me. But then the secret was revealed.
“I adopted Joey. He is not my actual son.”
I immediately went speechless. I felt my face burning up. I lost feeling in my body. I just sat there motionless when he told me. I didn’t know exactly what to think about this. Joey was my half- brother. Half? That can’t be, I tried to tell myself.
My father explained the story to me. He always wanted to tell me he explained, my mom just thought differently. He went on and on explaining everything to me but this information was not important to me in the moment, only one thing was. Why did my parents not tell me this years ago? Why is an 18-year-old girl finding out her brother is really her half- brother? The truth is that my mother was ashamed all these years. Ashamed that Joey was not my father’s son, but someone else’s. Ashamed that she has lied to me all these years.
I had some time to think about this. To think about me having a half- brother who I thought was my true brother all these years. I struggled to actually believe this. It was on my mind for days, but I never could make any sense out of it. I finally told someone. I thought if I told my friend it would help trigger my feelings. It helps to say things out loud, to say the truth out loud. Is it weird that I still don’t feel anything after all these days? In all honesty, I still felt like he was my true brother just like I thought he has been these past 18 years. I can’t change these past 18 years now, and I don’t want to change my years ahead.
I was told a secret 18 years too late. I found out I had a half- brother. I was 18 years old when I discovered the truth about my family. This secret taught me more than I would’ve ever learned. It doesn’t matter what someone’s real title is or where they come from. When you love and care about someone so much, it doesn’t matter who they really are. In my heart Joey is still my complete brother, and he forever will be.