I wrote last week in the post titled “Reunited” (click the link to read) about Bill’s story so far. As seems to be the way these things work, there’s always more to follow up with!
The last I was able to update you with was that Bill had a half sister on his mothers side (I called her Rebekah in the last post) who had been searching for him for 43 years. That in itself was amazing!
Well, early last Sunday morning, I received another e-mail from Christine in Australia (reminder, not her real name), to say that she had been in contact with Bill’s half sister (let’s call her Joyce) on his Dad’s side, and wanted to know if it was OK to pass my contact details to her. My answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Later that day I e-mailed Joyce, and we exchanged information as I had done with Rebekah a few days before. Joyce first knew about Bill and his sister when Christine contacted her in 2014 whilst searching for them. Up till then Joyce didn’t know anything about them. We agreed to speak on the phone so she could talk to me about her Dad and fill in some gaps before she spoke to Bill. So we arranged to do that Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday turned out to be quite a big day on the phone really!
I agreed with Bill that we would make a call to Rebekah Tuesday afternoon. In the morning we met with the others who gather at Wetherspoons, and then we retreated to a quiet place to make the call. I made the call on my phone so we could put it on speaker so that Bill, Sarah and I could all be a part of it.
I cannot begin to say how amazing it is to be a part of a conversation between a brother who only a matter of days before found out he had a sister he had never known about, and a sister who had known about her brother for 43 years and been searching since that time, and who now has finally found him.
The call lasted for around 23 minutes, they spoke and we helped things along if needed. And then, near the end of the call, Rebekah said this:
“Bill, I’ve been searching for 43 years and I never thought I’d find you, but now that I have I want to let you know that I’m not going anywhere.”
To which Bill replied:
“And I’m not going anywhere either!”
Bless him. I’m not allowed to tell you who, but someone I mentioned in the last post cried again.
Bill and I sat for some time afterward (so much so we lost track and I’m pretty sure I’m getting a parking fine from overstaying in the Morrison’s car park), and we talked about how he felt, and the next steps. As we talked, he would stop occasionally and pause, and would just say “43 years” and shake his head. Bill is 64. Rebekah found out about him when he was 21. That’s mad isn’t it! This is having a major impact on Bill. He can’t understand what that’s like to search for so long. But it’s having an impact on him and in him.
I received an e-mail from Rebekah on Tuesday evening which was full of words of warmth, joy, and I think relief at having found Bill and having spoken to him for the first time. I wonder what it feels like to have searched for 43 years with no sign of an answer? And then all of a sudden, within less than a week, boom. You have not just a sign, but an answer and then an encounter. All of a sudden your search is over. I mean, how does that feel?? I actually don’t think I can even imagine.
Later that afternoon I spoke to Joyce, she told me about her Dad, the gaps were filled, and we agreed to arrange a call for her and Bill to speak at the weekend.
Jump to yesterday. I received another e-mail from Rebekah on Wednesday saying that she was planning on giving Bill a call on Saturday to see how they got on talking, just the two of them. When I met Bill yesterday I mentioned that she was planning to do that, and he said that he was thinking of giving her a call later on. I told him that if he was ready for that he should do it, and that it would make her day if he did! And he said he definitely would.
And guess what? I had an e-mail from Rebekah yesterday evening to say that he had called, that he was really chatty and that he’d been telling her about all the places where he’d lived both from his memories of childhood and in more recent times. And the only reason the call ended was his summons to the darts match being held in the communal lounge where he lives! She said he seemed very relaxed and happy to talk. This is a big thing! It’s taken some time to see that in him, but over the past few weeks and months, we have really seen him blossom, and his confidence has grown immensely! For him to make that call with her is huge!
She plans to call this weekend and speak with him again. And Saturday afternoon Bill and I are meeting up to call Joyce so he can touch base with her too. Joyce lives about an hour away from Farnborough, so it won’t be difficult to arrange a meet up at some point soon.
And finally, Sarah and I have worked out a date to be able to take Bill down to meet Rebekah in a couple of weeks time. We are hoping it will be the second road trip of that week (we have another planned to go to Liverpool!) to connect family together! More on that Liverpool trip in time.
There’s not a lot more I can say to finish, other than this.
Father is working. And so are we!
Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water.