Happy Birthday Little Brother David!


This loss weighing on my very bones.

In memory of

David Efrain Rivera

5.12.1966 – 1.9.2009

david compilation

A sense of loss of someone who left this earth eight years ago; eight years before I knew he existed.

Where do I begin?

How do I begin?


What happened to those:

  • Eight years
  • 96 months
  • 416 weeks
  • 2920 days
  • 70080 hours
  • 4204800 minutes
  • 252288000 seconds

Where did this time go?


What can happen in eight years – what are all the things my brother has missed out on – whether it was a sibling or his own children robbed of their childhood by his passing

Off the top of my head are just some of the highlights that define our existence

  • Birth
  • 1st birthdays
  • first niece / nephew
  • celebrations like
    • graduations from pre-k, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school
    • bris, baptism
    • communion, confirmation, bat / bar mitzvah,
  • first puppy / kitten
  • first concert
  • first road trip
  • first camping trip
  • first true love
  • passing driving test
  • starting college
  • graduating college
  • first credit card
  • first car
  • first job
  • first wedding
  • first house
  • first grandchild


The list can go on to cover so many things like

  • First family vacation overseas

But – for now let’s just contemplate some of these things

For this too can qualify as a life not lived, or perhaps a life half lived because his legacy is now his lovely children left in the wake of his untimely departure and the grandchildren he never met, and those that that remained, those that loved him; those he left behind.

Farewell oh brother of mine that only lives in pictures and other people’s memories. Stories of your youth shared with me as I try to keep those pieces together to paint your picture! Always wondering, what would have been …

Until We Meet …

Fly free now, alongside your wings our sister (1957 – 2012) and brother (1958-1958) ; with your steadfast co-pilot at your side, your bride (1971 – 2017).










A Life Not Lived


What would have been …?

This life I did not live


Pictured above – Birth Family circa 1960 [before I arrived]

It has only been a little over a month and I am still processing, digesting, gathering information, building a [genealogy]family tree so I can see it, comprehend it all in ‘black & white.’

What of these strangers until now … these siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents I never got to know. The stories, the history that was rightfully mine stolen away.

Questions that come to my mind are those that are most taken for granted, I think.  But now; this new opportunity has finally arisen. I remember having a childhood notebook with hundreds of questions to ask of my birth mother. I speak with Linda, my birth mother, and all of those questions evade me. I guess I am still waiting for some truth. But I try to move on and realize there is more to know. I deal with her on a distanced level; working to obtain family history, names, events and some of her memories. Those memories though, always have me questioning how much truth there is to them. The trust is just not there.

Then it dawns on me after we hang up; of my parents and siblings just a few things I wonder about:

  • The color of your eyes?
  • How tall are you?
  • How much did you weigh at birth?
  • Allergies?
  • Do you play an instrument?
  • What kind of music do you like?

I know all of these things about my sister, the one that shares stories of olaughur past, of our family and extended family. The one I have never questioned a future with.   Always lingering and at my fingertips are our shared memories; ones we made together – good, bad and some best not to mention!

These things we take for granted knowing; like we know our name and address; because we have always known it.

Progress in this new ‘un-lived life

My brother and I; we already know the truth in our hearts. For me it is the science first and then the evidence next. I see myself almost looking back as I look at pictures of my sister. Finally knowing who I looked like even if its only in a picture. For my brother; my baby pictures cemented it. To quote him; ‘if you aren’t my sister, then I don’t know who is.’, ‘I feel you sis!’

Perusing their pictures; my birth mother Linda and my deceased birth father Israel. There is no doubt in my mind that these are my birth parents. DNA has already proved that. But just to be sure, my surviving brother has submitted his DNA to Ancestry. And so now we wait.


Top Right – Birth Father Israel; Top Middle – Author – FP: Top Left – Birth Mother Linda
Bottom Right – Birth Sister Debra; Bottom Right – Author – FP


I don’t want to trade one life story for another. I feel fortunate that I can now officially be a woman of two tribes; and to know the tribes of whence I came. To foster new relationships as I slowly uncover the layers of this life not lived. There is no reason to create a different past; I don’t want to change the facts. I don’t want a different sister than I grew up with, nor family in general. I cherish my life-sustaining tribe. My only regret is not of my actions; but circumstance; that I did not find out the truth until so much later in life.







Uncharted Waters


Yes, this blog is about my search – but my search started when my adoptive mother was on her death bed 24 years ago. My sister; also adopted, and I found our adoption paperwork. It was, I thought at the time, the key leading to all my answers.

It was not my key I held; but my sisters. It held her name and from there her truths would unfold. Almost 22 years ago, I was able to give her the gift of her biological family. I had connected some info on an adoption bulletin board on AOL. That first contact find was made in the middle of the night and I had to wait until at least 7:30 AM before I could share this my sister, JA. I don’t remember if I even slept. I remember she wasn’t as keen on finding her family as I seemed to be; but she wanted her truth. She found out her truth and so much more. She learned of a family that had always been searching for her. 

The post on AOL was a maternal aunt searching for her and a full brother that had always been looking. Hours passed in the day before I was able to catch up with JA and find out what had transpired when she had spoken to her aunt. 

JA had another large family. There were several  siblings, the paternal side practically tripling the maternal side. I think 7 or 8 paternal siblings, one full brother and 2 maternal siblings. 

Well, there’s a brief history; but why am I sharing this. I am in ‘Unchartered Waters.’ You see, one of JA’s paternal siblings, a sister younger by about 16 months, Trish, is leaving this world momentarily. She has fought the good fight against pancreatic cancer and some other complications. Trish will be leaving this earth a loving and brave soul with cherished memories of her left behind. I really didn’t know her at all; but I am plagued with these thoughts and emotions.

  • This isn’t my sibling, but I am so truly saddened.
  • How do I help my sister, JA?
  • How can I be there for her?
  • What can I do to save her from this pain when I cannot share it the same way?
  • No matter what had transpired with us, drifting apart and coming back together nothing would / will ever stop me from protecting her.

Memories from childhood and memories from adulthood creep into my mind . Memories of me stepping up to be there, support and even protect JA. Memories of JA always being there for me. Memories of experiencing the sadness of death of family members when we were young and so were they.

We were there, as much as children can be there, for the rest of the survivors. We were bereft because we too had lost them forever.  We were much younger than those that had fallen from this place of the living. Maybe too young to be able to really express ourselves. We were mourning our cousins, aunt, uncle and grandparents. They were more than family; they were our lifeline after our parents, sometimes our protectors, our confidants, our friends & playmates; they were our beloved.  

Final thoughts

  • Appreciate the here and the now!
  • Reach out and let those important to you know, they make a difference to you!
  • Let those you care about know they are important!
  • Take a moment for yourself, take a deep breath and enjoy a moment just for you! 

To you, my dear reader, I say thank you for letting me share this slightly off topic post.

 JA always my #1 sister, my friend, my go-to, and so many more things that  are too long to list; but if you are a sibling, then you know the list! And thank you for being you; you mean the world to me and make my world better!!!!