It's an important day for me too. It's my wedding anniversary (though, since becoming single it's significance has waned somewhat) and it's my brother's birthday. I haven't seen my brother for a long time. I don't know where he is or how he is. I don't know, to be honest, if he is alive or dead.
When he first moved to Cornwall about 25 years ago, I would write to him, and phone him sometimes. And in 1991 I became pregnant with our son, Alex, and I wanted to tell him. And I couldn't find him - I didn't know where he lived or where he was working. I wrote to him though, at the address I still had, and sent photographs of his new nephew. When Alex was about a year old, we took a family holiday to Cornwall. We found the address Philip lived at, but there was no answer.
My cousin, Nick, went down to Cornwall (he'd lived there for a while and knew the area well) and did manage to catch up with Phil one day. He told me 'your photos were on his wall'. So he had received my letters. Nick told me that Phil was working in a computer games shop. That was probably just after Melody was born, in 1993. But after that, neither Nick nor I could ever reach Phil.
I tried the Salvation Army - who did know him but he wasn't with them. I tried 'Find your family' websites. I found some very nice Philip Sheppards (one also had a father called Anthony, same as our dad, which was a strange coincidence), but I didn't find my brother.
My brother and I fought as kids, don't all siblings? But as adults we got along pretty good. I don't know why he chose to forget us. But you don't choose your family, do you? So the only choice you have is whether you stay in contact or not. Lots of families fall apart over stupid things - lots of families just drift. I just miss my brother.
My daughter, Melody, wrote a song for me - and for anyone who has lost touch with a loved one. Here it is. Please share and send to anyone who this may touch.
Happy birthday Phil, wherever you are. This family still think of you.