Back in January, I had stopped by Aunt Norah's (as you know, not her name) house to drop off some tea I get from work that she likes. We were just sitting in her living room talking about our family & stuff that happened before I was born, when she mentioned Donna (not her name). "Who is Donna?" I asked. "Oh, you haven't heard?" replied Norah. Of course I hadn't heard. My parents & I are almost always the last people in our family to hear about anything. But as it turns out, most of us didn't know. And what didn't we know? This....
My great grandfather (the father of my grandfather that just died) was apparently loose. There was already speculation back in the day that he fathered one child out of wedlock (who for some reason was already part of the family & grew up with my dad & his siblings. While it was never proven, it was heavily assumed because of rumors & the way she looked. I have no idea who this lady is, which isn't surprising because we have a tremendous family.
Anyway, a few years ago this new woman (Donna) approached my grandparents & told them that she thought she was the half-sister of my grandfather. D'oh! She was no stranger to them, having been a regular at the restaurant where my grandmother used to waitress. They only said something to a few of our family members, & surprisingly were able to keep it all pretty hush-hush (those people can't not gossip. Even if it's about themselves). Anyway, Donna's possible-half-brother Edward (not his name) wanted nothing to do with her because he was a turd & holier than thou. But he died a few years ago & she's slowly been feeling more comfortable.
Anyway, I went to see my parents (this was when I still lived with Skidmark & was making almost daily visits back to Rocky Mount for my safety) & asked my mother about Maybe-Great-Aunt Donna. She had no idea what I was talking about, & immediately texted my father, who responded with, "WHAT?!" So there was that. Later that night, my father called Norah, who gave him Donna's contact information. My parents then met with Donna & her husband, & encouraged her to get a paternity test & become more involved with everyone.
Then all of the crap happened with my grandfather. The second day I was at the hospital the week his lung collapsed, I went into the waiting room & was shortly joined by a lady I had never seen. I figured she was a friend of the family or some relative I had never met (or hadn't seen since I was little). Well, it turns out it was Maybe-Half-Great-Aunt Donna. Well, hey there! She asked me some question & we figured out we were there for the same people, & we both got really excited when we realized who the other person was. After reuniting with my grandmother, I got to witness the introduction of Maybe-Half-Great-Aunt Donna with her maybe-half-sister Lucille (not her name). They got along famously, & they even look similar. Then some of my cousins began trickling in. In a funny turn of events, the ones that came to visit had never heard of Maybe-Half-Great-Aunt Donna (which made me feel awesome for knowing something before them). It was really funny to watch their faces as they realized what was happening.
There was some awkwardness, though (because of course). One of the things I haven't mentioned was that Donna is literally half a month older than my dad. So she is the same age as one of her nephews. Yup! Another awkward moment was when she hugged my cousin Maria (not her name, duh) & told her she was sorry about her mother. Maria's mom (my aunt Mary [her real name, because she's dead]) was murdered in 1986. I found out at this point that Donna had known since the 70's that she might be part of our family but just learned about us through other channels. I also learned that my great-grandfather was a cop, to which I said, "Well, obviously he did a whole lot of serving & not a lot of protecting" (only Maria heard me. She laughed but it was still awkward if you understand what the meaning behind it was).
Since then, I only saw Donna one more time at the hospital right before my grandfather died. She was in his room with my grandmother, & she was saying her goodbye. It was really tough on her because she had finally started to get the family she'd always wanted & now her possible-brother was sedated & on a ventilator. She was trying not to cry, & told me after we left that what kept her strong in there was seeing me since I had been so supportive of her the other day. I also had noticed when she was about to start crying & gave her tissues.
Apparently she was at the visitation & funeral, but I didn't see her. She wasn't at the burial. But the next week, after everything that had happened, the paternity results came back.
Maybe-Half-Great-Aunt Donna was officially Half-Great-Aunt Donna. Holla, Half-Great-Aunt Donna!
And that's how I inadvertently gave us a new family member, just because I asked some questions & got a ball rolling.