About two weeks ago, I introduced you to Paola Rivera, who shared a story that normally, only happens in books or films. Over 50 years later, her mother discovered that, unbeknownst to her, she has an identical twin. If you are interested in reading Part 1 of this story, check out Paola’s account on her blog LIVE. TRAVEL. BLESS. or on Project Light to Life.
Now that Paola’s mother and her mother’s long-lost twin have finally been reunited, Paola has agreed to first share this story with Project LTL’s readers. Below is Paola’s account of this reunion:
Full disclosure: it took me almost two months to sit down with my mom and get the full story on how the reunion went. For whatever reason, I thought that if we set out a time to get dinner and have this lavish evening with all of those words, it would make the experience seem even more grandiose than it already was. It turns out that a night on the couch with a replay of Young and the Restless murmuring in the background was all I really needed to soak it all in.
Surprisingly, after everything was said and done and my ears had finally been graced with the story of the reunion, I came to the realization that I had been listening to so much more than just a story of two twins reunited. I had been receiving little reminders about this breath of a life we are give and was sprinkled with inspiration to embrace every curve ball that is thrown our way. So, rather than boring you all with every detail of what my mom ate while she was in Europe and how many trinkets/nail files made of Czech crystal she came home with in the midst of meeting her sister, I decided to focus on what my mother walked away with from this reunion and the beauty she showered me with as she recalled it all sitting on a couch in the middle of America.
The initial reunion was (from what I inferred) everything you might be imagining it to be: my mom waiting eagerly in a café until a woman who looked identical to her started running toward her with tears streaming down her face and a determined translator following close behind. My mom told me that throughout the entire meeting day, she was still half convinced this wasn’t her sister, that somehow, this was all just fake. She giggled as she told me this, but I know there was a serious undertone to that somewhat naïve comment – although, I think I would be stuck staring at her until I could prove the genetics one way or another! The language barrier was a bit tough, but from the sounds of it, I don’t think it was any harder than practicing self control with the breadbaskets at every table. My mom told me how beautiful it was to just sit there and feel comfortable with this woman she had never once met before and how blissful it was to be walking down the cobblestoned streets of Prague hand-in-hand with this identical image she now knew as her sister. They didn’t speak about the past, because there is nothing they could have fixed – nothing they could have changed to make this moment any different.
At this point in the conversation, I so eagerly wanted her to recite every detail down to the type of carvings in each bridge she crossed over. The more I tried to pry the swatches of the flowers and shapes of the architecture out into the air, the more my mom spoke about struggling with a language barrier and the sensation of having lived 57 years of a completely separate life than the one her own sister, let alone twin, had lived.
What was interesting to me, though, was that throughout most of this conversation my mother wasn’t speaking about herself – she was speaking about her sister. She talked about how much joy she felt knowing that Dagmar’s wish was fulfilled and that she not only found my mom after a lifetime of searching, but the unthinkable happened and they were able to meet. She spoke of how outlandish, yet incredibly easy it was to care so much about a person she had just met. I think the most heartbreaking, but at the same time, heartwarming comment my mom made was this:
“I never could have imagined how much it is humanly possible to miss someone after spending just four days with her.”
It is obvious my mom yearns for the day she can see her sister again and I can only hope that I will be right by her side the next time around. If you take anything from this story, let it be a reminder to not dwell on the past, to put others’ joy before your own, and to find beauty in the chaos that we call life. If you’re able to do those three things you’ll find yourself radiating a much more positive outlook and periodically reminding yourself that in the end, sometimes the storms you’re fighting through now may expose their own rainbows 57 years down the road…I’ve seen it happen in the most beautiful way.
Pretty incredible, right? What do you all think of Paola and her mother’s story?