For someone that cannot connect with others, within a family that has not always been my own, I certainly was sent a true gift…named Casey.
It was the beginning of 1999, and I was a loud, blustering, angry tornado of a 14 year old girl. Everything pissed me off, and I could take down anyone with so much as a dirty look. But if that didn’t work, my teenage hormonal imbalance mixed with a temper that would make a greek god blush would take care of the rest of it. I was unstoppable. Teachers loathed and feared me, while peers stayed their distance with respect.
Then one day in February, everything changed. My mother picked me up after school, but didn’t start the car once I jumped in. Something was wrong. She was misty-eyed and frazzled. I thought my dad had died, and I braced for impact. She started to tell me about a letter she had received in the mail that day. It was from a young man by the name Kent, AKA: Casey, and he was searching for his birth mother who had given him up for adoption 32 years prior. She showed me the letter and I read it like it was my own letter that I too had written over, and over again. We were the same, only HE had found the courage and the balls to actually send the letter to several possible “mothers.” I was stunned. It was the first time in my life that I felt that powerless feeling that comes along with speechlessness.
He wrote with such polite conviction in his letter, stating in part, “It is not my intentions to disrupt your life. I would just like a chance to know everything about you, but I would also like to know my family and it’s history. More than anything, however, I would like to thank you for giving me life.” Oh man, If nothing else… I was gonna pump this guy for tips on my making my letter even greater. At the time, all the other adoptees I had met were around my age, and didn’t have a clue on how to write THE letter, so I was on my own up until this thing fell into my lap.
My mother wrote back to him, and I watched, as she was clearly tormented in the fact that she now had to reject this poor guy, and he’d already had too much rejection for a lifetime. She was afraid of leaving a scar, knowing her own child, and the scars that were left by my birth mother. After telling Casey her story, and how she came to be in adoption records, she wrote, “I have truly agonized over having to wrote this letter to you. I know some of the anxiety you are experiencing, (as my daughter tells me, “How can I know where I’m going, if I don’t know where I’m from?”) …I would truly like to know how your search turns out. Please don’t give up trying to find her because of this disappointment I can tell from your letter that you are a wonderful, caring young man and I feel sure she would like to hear from you. I only wish that I was her.”
Casey wrote back again and promised to keep in touch, and over the next year they did. I wrote to him myself, feeling a connection could be made over our common ground. Not long after, he and I became pen-pals, and I sent him my life in a letter. Poems, feelings, pictures and questions. At 15, I was having phone conversations with a man more than twice my age. A man I had never met, but loved like I had never loved anything before. I called him my brother, and it felt like the first contact I had made with my own species. He understood me on a level that no therapist, no doctor, no friend or family member could ever get, and I would have followed him off a bridge back in those days.
He always ended his letters making me smile and laugh out loud. One in particular I have read a thousand times ended, “….Your mom really loves you, thats so cool. I guess it’s harder for adoptive parents to have a friendship with their kid because they have so much pressure to prove themselves to not only you, but themselves as well. Anyway, enough ramblings, this was only supposed to be a short note. Take care. Love ya, but don’t make me come up there and kick your ass. I will. (oooohh…tough guy!) -Casey” I can still hear his voice in my head saying the last part.
I regret losing touch with him while my oats were sewn and I exploded through my teenage years, doing everything he told me not to do. Drugs, promiscuity, hitchhiking, jail time, and most of all…disrespecting myself. I filed his letters away, and we both stopped writing. I didn’t want to have to lie to him when he asked how I was doing, and I feel like he was doing the same to me. We chose different roads, both sloping down hill, I chose to barrel roll and tumble the rest of my path.
But the roads met up again in 2006, when I looked him up after moving near to San Francisco and finding Casey also in the bay area. We met in person, but it was public and awkward. It didn’t feel right and so it didn’t last long. I hated leaving him, but the magic and chemistry was gone. I had fallen out of the feeling, and couldn’t get back in. Casey was this different entity entirely and I was the same to him. We had to go back to the start. So, we began writing again. Emails, and soon Facebook too! We could reconnect without even having to try! But Casey, (Now KSea,) had become ill, or was always ill, but never had the heart to tell me. I felt like I had found out too late because it seemed he was on deaths door. I was ashamed that I hadn’t known or cared enough to ask. My brother was dying, quickly.
I told my boyfriend, Joseph, at the time, that I needed to go see my brother, for it was the last time I would ever get to see him again. We planned a trip with the little money we had saved, and drove 400 miles. When I got there I told Joseph to hang back, that my brother was very weak and probably not mobile, and might not even know me. Then, here comes Casey strolling down the hallway with the biggest smile on his face. I made introductions and we welcomed us into his own personal room, which turned out to be in a hospice ward. (Again, I was clueless.)
We spent the day together, the three of us. He showed us where he had lived before, on the other side of the city, with the magic of other artists around. He was the very definition of cool, slick, and amazballs. Everything KSea did was with chaotic purpose, like there were too many creative ideas flowing inside his head, yet…he was a picture of calm and carefree. It’s so hard to describe!! That day, I felt the spark ignite and once again…. I completely loved this crazy, poetic man. He was my brother, my mentor, my own self. But he was sick, and I could do nothing about it but smile, instead of cry and curse God.
Of course, in true KSea fashion… he soon found his own cures to his many ailments that western meds couldn’t do. He came back from the brink of death, just to spite the people and doctors that said he couldn’t live through this. KSea didn’t stop there with the amazing show of strength. He moved on with his life, and did what I believed could never happen. He found his birth mother. I couldn’t believe it, and was even jealous of him at first. I felt like our story had come to an end. I was his family only because he simply had no family. I was ready to be happy for him and silently grieve a loss of my brother. But KSea wouldn’t have it. He wrote me again letting me know that he will always love his original little sis. I had my place set in stone, and I am still grinning like an idiot. A true happiness could be found in the comforting words of my brother, Casey.
To this day… in the last 15 years, I have only met him in person 5 times.
My mother always sends her love with me to him.