Monday, February 2, 2009

Where do I start?

I have been hearing for years that I should write a book about my family so here goes. I have no idea where to start really. Maybe in the order that I discovered it? ( I have changed everyone's names so they won't get upset with me!)

When I was 18 years old, my oldest sister, who is nearly 14 years older than me, took my twin sister, Agnes, and myself our for dinner with her husband, Dennis. This was Dublin, 1976. May to be precise. They took us to The King Sitric, a fantastic fish restaurant in Howth, Co. Dublin which is still going strong. It was our first time being taken to a really fancy place and I chose Lobster Thermidor and we had some red wine. I was not used to drinking at all in those days and had a violent reaction to all the alcohol and ended up throwing up so violently that I had broken blood vessels around my eyes that looked like hickies. That evening, we also went to see some friends of my sister's husband and the wife told Dennis that night that she was dying of cancer and I remember Dennis crying his eyes out in the car afterwards and my surprise to see a man in complete turmoil with tears streaming down his face. My sister comforted him and we all went home in a state of deep depression. It turned out that the woman had lied about the whole thing and I remember the surprise at the lie and how anyone could do something so despicable. Now, of course, I understand that she must have had a personality disorder. At the time, the overriding feeling I had was that men actually had feelings like women and what a shock that was to me.

Sometime either before of after that ( it must have been after on reflection as now we were 18 and allowed to hear this news) my sister and her husband took us to a meal in a restaurant near Grafton Street and told us the news that we had two half brothers and a half sister. I still remember the moment of hearing this and the sudden understanding of why there was a 10 and a half year age gap between my oldest sister and the next in line, Patricia.

Out came the story. My father had left my mother when my oldest sister was about 3 and had married someone else and had two children with that woman and then come back to my mother. That's it in a nutshell but the actual details of it and the fallout of this episode had long and deep affects on all our lives. In essence, this is the story of that.

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