I have a really complicated relationship with the Facespace. On one hand, I love being able to connect with the weird and wonderful chosen family of geeks and freaks and innernet friends who keep me sane (and occasionally drive me crazy). On the other hand, occasionally someone reveals themself, through the content and/or comments that they post, to be, um, well...*lowers voice*...an asshole. My best offline friend and I are not friends on the Facespace, because I unfriend her every time an election year approaches. It's THE ONLY WAY. Hotter and I aren't friends on there either, because when his neurological issues and/or his "biological issues" (read: my in-laws) flare up and he's a jerk, I vent about it on there and my friends support me, and it only took one flame-war in my comments section for me to ban him for life.
And then sometimes I get a random message from someone with a feminine version of my father's face all "hi, I'm your sister."
She seems like a perfectly lovely person, although I'm not sure how much we have in common (besides the obvious) in that she's retired, and seems fairly well-off. We've messaged back and forth a couple of times about our families and careers, and I get the impression she's on a genealogy kick and tracking down relatives. Well, relatives other than Only Living Relative himself; of him she had the following to say:
"The last time i saw our father, I was 17. He sent me a card with I think $20 in it saying his was too young to be a grandfather when my son was born (he's going to be 41 in 2 weeks) and I think that was the last I heard except for a phone message about 5 years ago when he was already in [South Pacific]."
Ouch. I knew Only Living Relative had, before becoming so addled, been a first-class bastard for much of his life, but...wow. If I thought he'd know who I was and what I was talking about, I'd call him up and yell at him.
My reply to her was this:
"I wish I could say that surprises me, but XXXXX could be kind of a coldhearted bastard. Part of how I knew he was slipping away into dementia is that suddenly every time I talked to him he told me he loved me and was proud of me. If it's any consolation, when I'm trying to explain who I am and tell him I'm his daughter, he always guesses "[chidhood diminutive of her name]" first, so some part of him remembers you. It's been interesting, the things that have popped up since he lost what little filter he had (for example, apparently we have at least two more half-siblings out there somewhere that he knows of...). I don't expect him to last more than a couple of months longer at this point, so if there is anything you want to say to him, now would be the time. Not that I would judge you if you were fine with leaving things as-is; my mother was maybe the only person alive who was capable of making XXXXX "the good parent," and when someone from her family let me know that she was dying in a hospital across the country, I opted not to make the trip. I think in a lot of ways, we choose and create our families, those of us who are not born into the storybook type, and I'm happy with the one I have now. It sounds like you are, too, and I'm glad."