Brother Disowned From Family Reunites With Sister After 40 Years
Maureen Clancy grew up wondering why her brother Michael walked out on her family at 21 years old without an explanation. His disappearance led to many unanswered questions. Forty years later, Maureen, now a grandmother, reunited with her brother and tells the story of a painful, yet emotional reunion.
Maureen never understood why her brother left when she was only 14 years old. Michael and she were close and he was always there for her. Maureen looked up to him and never imagined they would be separated.
“I came home from school and one minute he was there, the next he was gone,” she said.
Maureen didn’t find out until decades later that Michael was ousted from the family because of his sexual preference. When he told his parents he was gay, they shamed him and could not bear the news. Maureen’s mother told her Michael left and to never speak of his name again.
“I had no idea what had happened,” she said. “I thought he’d stolen something or been in trouble with the police and I said to my Mam, ‘He’s committed murder hasn’t he’?”
Whenever Maureen would bring up Michael’s name, her mother shot her down. Once Maureen became an adult and a mother of her own, she told her mother she wanted to find Michael. Maureen’s mother said she would not do it “over her dead body.”
Michael also tried to get in contact but his mother would not allow it.
“My dad was a very quiet, placid man and my mum was the one who laid the law down,” Maureen said.
Five years after her mother’s death, Maureen finally discovered the truth of Michael’s disappearance.
“For 40 years my brother has been living a separate life for being gay,” she said. “That is a pathetic excuse to disown anybody. If I’d been older and had known what was going on, I would have stood by him. He must have been devastated.”
Maureen started searching for her brother immediately after her mother had passed, but she had no luck. Her daughter suggested she contact the show Long Lost Family for help. The show graciously took on her plea and when they found him, Maureen was so emotional she started shaking.
The reunion was tearful and heartfelt. It took place in Redcar where the siblings would frequent as children.
“We just fell into each other’s arms,” said Maureen.
Once Michael heard a member of his family tried to find him, he was so happy.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It’s absolutely thrown me.”
Once Michael knew he had support from his sister and she was trying to track him down, he began to share his pain and the hurtful memories of being discarded by his own family.
“I used to phone home on Christmas Day from Bermuda. The phone would get picked up and then put down if my mam answered so in the end I put the shutters up – it was the only way I could deal with it,” he said.
“We’ve missed out on so much of each other’s lives and now we can just build on it and have a new relationship.”