DNA Surprise: The Sisters Speak is part three of my story of finding out at the age of 56 that my father was not my biological father. You can read that story here. Part 1: When Your Father is Not Your Father: The Shock Results of Ancestry DNA Test. Part 2: You Have Three New Sisters
When I first found out about the DNA results on Ancestry.com it knocked the wind out of me. I went into deep shock for several weeks. Naturally the months progressed and as the story began to unravel things began to settle inside me.
It was time to meet my three new sisters.
The shock waves were reverberating through both sides of our families. Out of care for members of the Cassidy family, who had not yet been bought up to speed, I wrote the first two blog posts using made up names. However, now that everyone is on the same page, they have given permission for me to contiune the story. I can now reveal the identity of my sisters and our biological father. In fact, in this post they express their versions of what happened and how they felt about finding me.
Kevin Cassidy, my biological father and pictured below is described as a charming, charasmatic, sporty, fun-loving, story teller. That must be the Irish in him. He was tall, good looking and a ladies man. Tall was the word that stood out to me. My father was a jockey and about 5 ft 1. As I am 5ft 10 I felt like I never quite fitted in. Suddenly I understood where my height came from.
This is a photo of Kevin and I at about the same age.
I asked the girls permission to use their names and also if they would consider writing down how they felt about meeting me. There is more to this epic than just what happened to me and how I felt. This has effected everyone and in different ways. So I will introduce you to my new sisters in birth order.
Faye is the eldest. Faye lives in Queensland and I was fortunate recently to spend a few days in Queensland getting to know her a bit better. This is Faye and these are her thoughts.
I have always known that Lisa would find us one day. When I logged into Ancestry that day and saw her come up as a match to Jayne and myself, I was beyond excited. I knew straight away who she was.
When I first met my other 2 half sisters 9 years ago, they told me that there was another sister out there. We decided then, that we would not go looking for Lisa. If it was meant to be, Lisa would find us.
For me, my instant thought was YAY…. when can I meet her. I also knew that I can be a little impatient and that the best thing would be for Jayne to be the one to reach out to Lisa. She is the calm sister.
I was already buying a tick to Melbourne to meet Lisa.
After Jaynes initial contact, I had to put my enthusiasm on hold. Lisa needed time. One thing I’m not too good at. We all waited for Lisa to be ready to meet us and when it was my turn it was awesome. Lisa is awesome. I felt a connection straight away. It was like we had known each other before if that makes sense.
She is spiritual like Jayne, beautiful like Jackie and funny like me! She is definately our sister. I can’t wait to see what the future brings us.
Next in birth order is Me….. but you’ve alread heard my side of the story.
Jackie, who used to be the eldest, now joins me as the middle child. lol….. It was a bit of a shock when we met. I was not expecting the physical similarities.
This photo was taken outside the cafe in Abbotsford where we met for the first time.
The year 2010 would change the dimension of Jaynes and my life. I would have to say I found it distressing at the the time. Our father was dying and to learn that we had a sister, I just found this unbelievable. Perhaps I had lived in a bubble but whatever it was, I was in shock.
I confronted Dad after I was told by a relative, of this life changing news. Dads first response was yes, you have a sister, but there was no DNA in those days. Then in his next breath he recited Lisa’s full name, her mothers name, where she went to school and the suburb that Lisa had lived! In fact Lisa had lived within a 10km radius.
Jayne and I decided that we would not go looking for Lisa, but if one day we got a knock on the door we would be ready with open arms. Late 2011 Jayne and I did receive a letter from a half sister. We would soon find out that this letter was not from Lisa, but in fact another half sister Faye. This left me in shock once again.
As the years rolled on Faye, Jayne and myself have created a loving bond that can only be shared by sisters. Faye was delighted to gain knowledge that she shared both Irish and Italian heritage. Ancestry.com became a daily ritual. Investigating our Grand Parents, and great grand parents! I think Faye missed her calling she should have been a detective!
Anyhow, March 2019 our beautiful Lisa found us. When Jayne called me and told me that Lisa had been linked to the family tree. “Jack, OMG…… Lisa looks like you”, I felt excitement and shock all over again. When I received photos of Lisa I was blown away the resemblance, it was incredible.
My turn came to meet Lisa, I was apprehensive and nervous but I couldn’t get to the cafe quick enough. I stood up, we hugged and I new instantly that we were family. In fact I think the first sentence I said to Lisa was, “it’s like looking in a mirror”, Lisa agreed.
We are extremely lucky to have all been united. I am proud to tell anyone who will listen to me. “Have I told you I have another new sister and she is beautiful just like the other two!” Genetics is amazing and in a number of ways all four of us are very similar. As the saying goes “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”
I am honoured to take the title of middle child and will be forever greatful to have three inspiring women I call my sisters. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Finally meet Jayne or as we call her Jayney. Jayney is the baby in the family. Whilst Jackie, Faye and I look the most alike, Jayney and I share a deep spiritual connection and speak the same language. This is Jaynes story.
With an already complex family history, and the awareness of another sibling’s potential emergence, I felt that I would be fully prepared if/when another sister walked into our lives.
Oh the naivety…..to state the obvious, “you just don’t know what you don’t know.”
I grew up as the youngest of two (very close and loving) sisters, but by the age of 42, whilst supporting our father in his final weeks, I learned I was in fact the youngest of three. This news, I must admit, was not at all a surprise. Funny how life unfolds, here I was losing a father, but now as it turned out, potentially gaining a sister.
So many questions, so few answers….her name, we were told, was Lisa Jane.
Jackie, my (initially sole) big sister, and I decided we would not source our new found sibling in the event that, she too, was oblivious to our existence. We believed that if Lisa was to find us, either through knowledge or circumstance, we would deal with this new chapter if/when it unfolded. So it stood to reason that when we were contacted by a sister by mail some 2 years after our fathers passing, that we had finally been united with our big sister Lisa….
well, ummm, no….introduce our even bigger sister, Faye!
So now I was the youngest of four.
An instant bond with Faye, and several years that followed solidifying that love and connection, saw us again mutually agree that we would not go looking (harder than you realise for Faye) for Lisa, allowing fate to once again take it’s due course…..fast forward to March 2019….our lives were forever changed.
I had found something that I hadn’t even realised was missing.
When Lisa appeared I instantly went into ‘calm, accept and protect’ mode. This role, that I had adopted over the years, was as much about consciously holding a space for Lisa, as it was for my other two sisters and myself. Questions swirled…..What did she know about us? How long had she known? Who was she like? But nothing had prepared me for what came next….Lisa knew nothing!
My heart broke!
It was in that moment (although not yet fully understood), when I felt Lisa’s and my breaking hearts, that I recognised an instant connection, a knowing if you will. Somehow I knew this person, not as the ‘story of another potential big sister’, but more so as a connection that defied words. Lisa looked like Jackie (as was assessed in photos), but somehow sounded and felt like me…..This I knew in my heart, and although this explosive revelation would set off a tsunami of emotions, I also somehow knew that it was all exactly as it should be. This was not just going to be a story of a family reunion….this was going to be a story of deep connection and healing.
Lisa is my sister, I don’t call her my ‘half’ sister, I call her my ‘newest’ sister. We are not only bonded by blood, but by love, an inexplicable energetic thread that was ultimately always there, a connection that I will forever be grateful for, an unbreakable connection that is fortified by acceptance, support, respect and love.
Lisa was the piece that was missing. ….she is the second eldest sister in our special ‘blended family’…..a loving little ‘sibling family’ of four.
As a final note: I have yet to meet all of my new nieces and nephews. I have only met Alanna who is a beautiful vocalist and is as nutty as her aunt. You may see a family resemblance.