Finding Robert – Emily DeBias

I’ve been struggling with whether I should write this or not. At the end of the day I’m not forcing any one to read anything that I write, I just didn’t want someone to read this and think that I am looking for any type of pity. I have had an amazing adventure of a life. It’s just been different than most.

My little brother and I are what society has lovingly labeled “bastards”. Actually, I’m not even sure if they use that term anymore, but that is what they used to call us. The dictionary defines a “bastard” as: a person born of parents not married to each other. My brother and I, never satisfied being of the status quo did it one better. We are also the product of a broken home and were raised by our amazing mother. Yes, we were the Three Musketeers for most of my life.

We left Long Island when I was three and my brother was one, the reasons we left are hazy at best and are probably told differently from every side of the story. The one constant is that we left. I remember sitting at my great aunt Joan’s house with my Uncle eating strawberries dipped in sugar. Try it, if you haven’t already, it’s heaven. I don’t remember the plane ride and I don’t remember most of the time we spent living with my grandparents in San Antonio Texas. I know that my brother, ever mischievous, got in to my grandmother’s pills and the ambulance was called to the house a few times. Now, now, before anyone gets up in arms; this was a different time. There weren’t child protected pill bottles and my brother was a chubby little handed child, capable of ripping the lids off of just about anything.

We went and saw our father once in 1993, at least that’s what the picture says and I only have one memory of that trip. We were trying to catch fireflies in jars, we are assholes us children, and he was trying to help but he accidentally smashed it on to his shirt instead. He glowed the rest of the night. That was it. That was the last time I saw him. That was over twenty years ago. I have a vague memory of seeing him at my Uncles house, his cigarettes rolled up in to the sleeve of his plain white t-shirt. But the mind is a fickle lover and memories fade and are often concocted of what we want to remember. So, I can’t tell you for sure if that ones real. The fireflies were real. You never forget fireflies.

The real reason I am writing this is because a few years back I got a message on facebook from a guy named John. Now, let me go back, back, back a few years. Yes, I knew that I had half siblings. Yes, I knew I had five of them. Yes, I did try and find them but it’s hard when you don’t know anything about them except for the fact that they exist. Now, jump forward, forward forward a few years to the golden age of facebook where you can find anyone! So I woke up 2/6/2011, the Steelers were playing the Packers and since I was living in Chicago at the time this was a pretty big one for our house. I opened facebook and found this:

Hi Emily i know this is weird but after doing some research i just wanted to contact you. My name is John DeBias i’m the first born child of Bob DeBias and if I have this correct I’m your half brother. I’ve always wondered if i have brothers or sisters out there and being unable to find Bob i had to search on my own. If i have the wrong person i’m very sorry if not and you would like to contact me my number is *** *** ****. or message me on here. if not i totally understand as well. I hope your doing well.

My jaw hit the floor and it took me a good five minutes to call my mother.

Me- Mom, I got this facebook message from a guy claiming to be my half brother.

Mom- What’s his name?

Me- John.

Mom- Yeah, that’s him.

So, within the minute it took me to read a message on the internet I had a half brother and then a few months later we had found our father. I cried uncontrollably the night I found out that we knew where he was and I had his phone number. It took me a while to call him. My brother, braver than I, called him first. I was out shopping and he called asking for his number. I was nervous to give it to him because I didn’t know what he was going to say. What if he ruined my reunion too? My brother and I always had different “views” of our father. Where I had let go of any animosity I had towards him years ago, my brother was still bitter. He said he just wanted to leave a message. He called me back and said that they had a nice conversation and that he really wanted to hear from me. I still couldn’t do it. I want to say it was another month before I even got up the nerve to call, and even then I had to have a beer to slow my heart down or else he would have heard it pounding through the phone.

I thought about hanging up after the first ring. I thought about hanging up after the second. Then before I realized what was happening a woman answered:


-Hi, I’m looking for Robert?

-May I ask who’s speaking?

-Um, yeah, it’s Emily.

-Oh, I, hold on. Bobby! It’s your daughter.

She knew who I was. This woman I had never met nor spoken to in my life knew me by name. Then it happened. I was talking to my father. “Hey darling.” He sounded like I remembered. We talked for ages. I apologized for taking so long to call him. He apologized for not being around. We forgave each other. We cried. And just like that, I felt as though my life was complete again. Then he told me that he was having brain surgery in a few months. He’s been epileptic for a long time and they thought that this would help. So, now I have my father back and people want to cut his head open and take part of his brain out. Ok.

If I had the money I would’ve flown out there to be with them. I would’ve swooped in before he woke up from surgery and surprised him. Or would I have? What if he woke up and didn’t remember who I was? This thought plagued me until I got a call from him from the hospital telling me that everything was alright. He was fine. That was three years ago. We talk as much as we can. My brother, I’m happy to say, calls him more than I do. In a few weeks I’m flying to North Carolina where my brother and I will go meet him for the first time in twenty years. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. I never thought this would happen and now as the day grows closer I become more and more nervous. It’s happening. I’m bringing baby pictures. I’ll probably even bring them a book or two; they love to read. Yes, I will probably have to stop and get a glass of wine before we get there, but soon I will be looking in to eyes so much like my own and I will know that I am whole.

“Hello darling, I just called to wish you a happy rabbit day…or chicken..or chick…uh duck? It’s one of them! Happy something! I love you. Bye Bye.”


About operation100books

Hi, my name's Emily and I'm starting the 100 book challenge. 100 books. 12 months. Can I do it? Update: Needless to say I did not finish the 100 book challenge. I'm still at it though and have strayed from The List entirely; but never say never. I will finish The List...some day. View all posts by operation100books

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