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There are I believe in life, and certainly it has been my experience, times, situations, circumstances, events etc., that really make you sit up and re-evaluate things.

And certainly this seems to be one of those and I find myself struggling so very badly in many ways.

What was it that Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”? Well if so this is one scene I don’t very much like!

Some time back my mother asked me if I would trace our family tree and learn more about our family and especially my family on my Father’s side.

Now those who know me well will know that I am a very private person in many ways and that due to lots of reasons, my mental and physical health being two of the biggest reason, I keep myself to myself and outside of church activities and attendance I do prefer to keep myself very much to myself and to be isolated in many ways.

It is a decision and indeed a lifestyle that often comes under question from others and indeed sometimes comes under question or review from me personally.

There is no doubt a huge dichotomy here. I blog and am fairly public and open even extroverted about certain things and yet at the same time I am very private and introverted about other things.

Night on thirty years back now, I walked into my family home to find my immediate family gathered in the front room with a stranger. This stranger was then introduced to be as the half brother I never knew existed and in all honesty whilst I was polite to him I took exception to his presence, even his existence without my knowledge and gave little thought to him outside of that one meeting.

You see suffering with mental health issues at any age can have direct and difficult impacts on your relationships. Indeed my suffering with mental health issues as a child and youth – especially at a time when having mental health issues carried a huge stigma – truly impacted my relationships including with my family and especially with my biological father.

In truth by the time this half brother entered the script of my life I was already exiting stage left and becoming but a bit-part player in the scripts of my family’s life, so why would I even consider establishing or nurturing a relationship with a new character? So I didn’t establish or nurture this new relationship and simply went on my way withdrawing to the sidelines.

But what of destiny? What of our calling? What of God’s plan for our lives? You see whilst I can quite easily wax lyrical down this theatrical theme that I have started as a result of the Shakespeare quote but at some point I have to make recognition of and indeed consider the fact that the play was written by someone and is meant to be played out according to the way it is written.

You see as a Christian, whilst I do (just like anyone else) have the free will to ad-lib and improvise in life, the truth is I am called to follow the instructions and encouragements God has given. And God is a God of love and of acceptance and of Family.

So a few months back, despite my reservations and my in-built reluctance I started to try to repair relationships with my family and indeed to rebuild them. Having done so I then decided to bite the bullet and trace my family as my mother had asked me.

It was this process that several days ago saw me trying to trace that stranger, my half brother David and with all avenues seemingly exhausted I sent an email off to his former employer hoping that he had at least kept in touch with them and they could forward my details to him.

This afternoon I received a call as a result of that letter and instead of it being from that previous employer telling me they had no current contact with him, or indeed from David himself it was from someone else, David’s friend and care worker, informing me that he had passed away this Tuesday evening.

I cannot even begin to describe or explain the whole plethora of feelings and thoughts and regrets that I am going though at this time. The incredible loss that I somehow feel for this man this brother than I never even really knew. The frustration that had I tried to contact him even a few days before I did, he may have at least known I had come to care. The remorse and regret, yes even shame that it took this long for me to do what I know the Lord would have wanted me to do all along. The deep unmeasurable sorrow that like with my Father before him my relationship with David will never be able to be what it should have been. At least not this side of heaven.

I called my mother and informed her of David’s passing and of what had taken place and then this evening my Sister called me and I spoke with her about it all. I then sat numbed and bewildered and confused trying to keep it all together and remain strong as I spoke with my adopted family in the states.

Then they went to go eat and we arranged to speak again shortly but within minutes they had returned. Poppa Troy, who is like a father to me was being rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. He had collapsed whilst eating.

As I write this I am left struggling to make sense of and cope with the loss of my half brother David whilst at the same time waiting to hear and so very worried about Poppa Troy.

We prayed, those who were left behind as Momma and Charles went with Poppa, and I have faith in God. But my faith in God is real and absolute and honest and I know that God does not limit himself or His healing only to maintaining life on this planet but instead has an eternal, heavenly perspective and that Poppa’s healing that we asked for may well come in the form of the Father taking him home to be with Him.

In truth I will have joy over Poppa being with the Father and finally being without pain and suffering and yet by the same truth I know I will struggle so very deeply with my own loss in all this and with the loss of all the family, Momma’s loss, their chidlrens’ loss, and the grand-childrens’ loss.

If God as Poppa’s loving heavenly Father does choose to heal Poppa, continuing his life here with us I will be so very delighted. Yet if He in His infinite love and wisdom chooses instead to take Poppa home then I will accept that joyfully also but with much more hardship I feel.

Either way I have to stay strong for the kids and for Momma and yet I am so desperately weak and tired and shocked and battered and am struggling in so many ways.

So I sit praying and writing this. It is one of the ways that I cope – one of my survival techniques or cognitive therapies if you will.

But there is one other, even greater purpose behind my writing this and that is to share my pain and my lesson and my hope with you the reader and to ask you this question.

Is there someone, perhaps more than one, with whom you too should have a better relationship than you currently do? In all honesty, are you desperately in need of a time like this when something happens that makes you sit up and re-evaluate things and to make every effort to put things right the way you know God desires them to be?

Then if there is, then share this my time, my situation, my experience, my pain and safe yourself and that person/ those persons a lot of pain and heart ache and do everything you can to start putting things right.

God bless you.