Is life just a game where we make up the rules
While we’re searching for something to say
Or are we just simple spiraling coils
Of self-replicating DNA?
-Monty Python, Meaning of Life
My DNA results came in, and with the help of an amazingly fortuitous first-cousin match NOT on my maternal side, some incredibly skilled search angels and a bit of intrepid sleuthing on my part (if I do say so myself) we triangulated the likely identity of my birth father. The process was thus: we built out the family tree of the 1st cousin match, and then I took each family name and compared that to young men in my mother’s class or one under in her high school yearbook. There were four potential matches. The first three did nothing for me, but the fourth was an immediate ‘click’. I can’t explain it. I just felt like he was the one. I think I bear some of his characteristics but more I think my younger daughter favors him quite a bit. But beyond that, something undefinable gripped me as I looked into his eyes over a gap of 50 years, at his teen self captured in a photograph. So many opportunities to ‘pfft’… but the lump in my throat said otherwise.
Then we built out the next level matches and found additional links to his tree. By the end of the process we were relatively certain that my father had been identified. Sadly, he died in 1997. I started trying to conceive of ways I could find people who knew him, thinking I could talk to them and at least piece together what sort of a man he was.
I wrote in the beginning that I did the DNA test as something of a curiosity but did not put much stock in it. I still feel the same but would add the caveat that if one is incredibly lucky, the right person in their genetic pool might also have done one and yield for them critical clues to follow. As it turns out, I am indeed incredibly lucky.