Left Out of the Obituary- Again

Adoption is Messy.


Inconsolable Grief Consumed Me…

The feelings overwhelmed me, and tears rolled down my face for hours. There was nothing that eased the pain I was feeling when I learned my brothers family left me out of His obituary.

His death was one thing.

Leaving me out of the obituary was another.



There are really no words to describe how this has felt to me. I experienced the same thing when my birth mother passed away. My birth sister asked me to come and said she needed me to be at the funeral so I went. Why did I have it in my mind that maybe, just maybe I would be listed in her obituary as her daughter? She rejected me. She didn’t want a relationship with me, yet I still had this HIDDEN HOPE that I would be in her obituary.

I guess adoptees are good at fantasizing & dreaming about who, what, when & where did I come from? From the moment we find out we’re adopted we start seeking and searching for our people. HIDDEN HOPE is something I always carried with me. Tucked away in my back pocket wishing and hoping things would change with my birth mother, that one day she would change her mind and want me in her life.

20 years passed and it never happened, yet I was supposed to be there for my birth sister to support her?

On November 7, 2010 I & experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I sat in the front row of my birth mothers funeral service, along side of my sister- you know where the “VIP Family” sits? Yet, I glanced at the funeral service, and looked at the obituary and I was no where to be found.

So who the hell am I?

Am I invisible?

Do I not count for shit?

Am I a human being who has no feelings at all?

Again, inconsolable grief that grew to be larger than the grief of the loss in itself. Just heart-wrenching & I still tear up thinking about it. The pain was and is overwhelming.

So here we have it May 20, 2017- I’ve been working on building a relationship with my img_5247new found brother which I found in 2011. We’ve actually been working together to build that relationship. I had visited Texas multiple times with my kids, and my brother had come to Kentucky multiple times. We both made an effort. We talked on the phone every few weeks, and we text one another pictures of the sunrises and sunsets on occasion. The last time I heard form Him was Mother’s Day…

Sadly, I will never hear from Him again but our last words were happy, cheerful, fun and full of LOVE.

He was my brother.

When I read the obituary and saw I was not included, my heart dropped. I was at the park doing laps for some exercise and it stopped me in my tracks. Tears rolled down my face as I began to weep. Weeping turned into sobbing and there was nothing I could to to ease this pain. The truth is the truth. This hurt like hell. More than anything. It hurt.

I sobbed for hours that night… a few close to me could feel my pain by the tone of my voice, my sadness, my tears and for once in my life I wasn’t hiding it. THEY SAW IT. I sat in the dark of my living room for what seemed like hours. My dogs gave me comfort and one of my daughters stopped by to lend me some support. She hugged me, and held my hand and told me how sorry she was that happened.

What now? I text my brother’s sister and asked her “WHY” I was left out of the obituary. Oh it was a mistake, blah blah blah… Right. I wonder how many adoptees in the world have heard that same crap? Millions I’m sure. All I know is it showed me their true colors on how they really feel about me, but I can tell you one thing my brother didn’t feel that way about me. We have 6 years of amazing memories that no one can take. We had a great relationship that can’t be erased. This was the last photo we took together & a photo of Him and my kids on our first trip to Texas.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Perhaps I set myself up for this pain? One thing I’ve always done is try to see the best in everyone, to look at things in a positive light, to pull out something good in every situation. There has to be a lesson here right? I mean isn’t there a lesson in everything?

For me the only lesson I can pull from this heartache is to stop investing in so many relationships because in the end, it’s always pain. It’s happened my entire life. I know my fellow adoptees get it, especially those in reunion… Reunion is rocky at times, it’s hard and it takes a lot of work especially when so much time has been missed. It’s hard to build relationships with people from afar when you have no shared history. It’s awkward, its overwhelming sadness of what was missed, it’s joy and fun at times. I’ve learned as time passes in my life less is good. The less people, less commitments, less ties to people, places & things the better for me. I love to be by myself, and that’s where I’m the happiest because it’s just God and I.

I must connect with someone extremely well before I make the choice to let them in. I know many adoptees experience the same. I think it’s natural for a not natural situation. I’m very cautious who I allow to enter my life, and at this point I’m extremely happy with the small group of friends I have, my children & very few family members. I have a special man in my life, he knows who he is. I’m also happy with a fairly wide circle of fellow adoptees. If any of you should read this, please know you are a safety net for me and so many others. When I disappear from social media,  or the world I know I don’t even have to explain it. You guys are right there to pick up where we left off when things circle back around. And they always circle back around.

No matter what I do in life, I still find myself processing the pain from adoption.

Praise God for this safe space where no one can interrupt me or shut me down from sharing how I feel. Those days are over. I will not make any apologies for how I feel nor will I deny how I feel to make other’s feel comfortable. Healing from this journey will take an entire lifetime, because so much was lost and there are so many dynamics to it. Thankfully I live a happy life aside from my adoptee issues. I have amazing kids, a great job I love, I have found myself in nature and searching for waterfalls. I’m free from running in circles at churches, and recovery meetings. I’m seeking God in all things but the rules and regulations brought on by man are things I’m no longer interested in in my life. Life is good. I’m happy generally speaking.




Somehow adoption always has a way of creeping its head back up trying to take more of my joy. Many adoptees feel the same way, its not just me! It’s always something. The greatest part about sharing these feelings when they come is once I share them it takes the load off my shoulders and I release it so it’s not weighing me down. We have to share our hurts! If you are an adoptee reading this, please find someone safe you can talk to who will listen without judgement. If you are not an adoptee who might be reading this, please JUST LISTEN when adoptees share. Please listen with the intent to LEARN, not the intent to REPLY. Please understand that not all adoptees “Have a bad experience” because their pain doesn’t line up with the worldly views of how wonderful adoption is. Just because we have pain because of adoption, doesn’t mean we aren’t happy people.

So today, I am moving forward. I’m not getting stuck in this pain but I’m processing it in healthy ways as it comes. Today I’m not drinking, I’m writing. I’m living my life the way I see fit. If you want to know why I always seem happy and bubbly, I get my joy from those I’m close to and from the Lord! I’m resting in God’s hand and I’m pretty comfortable there.

Until Next Time…

❤ P.Karanova



23 thoughts on “Left Out of the Obituary- Again

  1. Ugh this is so painful. I hope this never happens to my daughter. I hope that our efforts to beer open and connected with her extended family prove to prevent her such pain. Hugs to you and continue to be strong.

  2. I know what you’re feeling. My adoptive sister – the one I was raised with all my life – left me out of her obituary. Granted, we had had a broken relationship for a few years before she died. But, we were raised together – she was my older sister. I told myself, “geez, it’s just an obituary.” My head understood but my heart still hurt.

    Then, I met a birth sister some years ago. We didn’t really hit it off, although we wrote back and forth for a few years. Toward the end, even the letters stopped. Then she died. I went to her funeral and there were pictures of me and I was mentioned during the service. I was deeply touched.

    Most people don’t understand that, for adoptees, these type of actions trigger our sense of rejection or loss all over again. Blessings to you, Pam. Your family are the people who love you.

  3. Gurl!! I am a kinship foster kid, my birth mom and the mom that raised me (from 18 months old till her death last October) were sisters. I am will be 50 on my next birthday. My adult children knew no other grandparents. I have ALWAYS referred to my parents as mom and dad, not aunt Thelma and uncle Bill. When my mom died her sons left me out of the obituary, 37 days later when my dad died they left me out once again. I know your pain!! I wish I could say something, or do something to let them understand but NOTHING I COULD EVER DO WILL CHANGE THEM. Even though it SUCKED being left out the only thing I can do is treat them how I want to be treated!!

    1. Hi Terry,

      OUCH! So so sorry you have experienced this pain! It’s honestly one of the hardest things I’ve experienced and I have also experienced it multiple times. I can’t for the life of me understand WHY people are so cruel and mean? I mean talk about a knife in the heart?? Broken! I was sobbing uncontrollably each time this happened and was inconsolable for hours, and it creeps back all the time. It’s a hard pill to swallow. We both deserve so much more! It’s hard to even feel like you are a live living human being when we are treated as if we don’t even exist, our feelings don’t matter one bit.

      TRAGIC and I agree treating them how you would want to be treated is a good idea. For me, I cut people off who hurt me. I shut the door, lock it up and that’s the end of that story!

      Hugs you aren’t alone!!!!!!!!!!! ❤

  4. I so feel your pain! Although I am not an adoptee, I was left out of my brother’s obituary 2 yrs. ago by my sister who apparently is angry with me. I am looking into publishing in the same newspapers something of a correction but not sure if the publisher will accept me as qualified to do so. Maybe theres another way to write it, where I can include myself-maybe a remembrance type ad? Anyway, thought it was worth mentioning as an additional way of healing & honoring self & the deceased. I’m also open to any direction on how to do this if anyone has knowledge.

  5. I am so sorry! It sticks the knife in and turns it.

    When my daughter died, her a-mom wnt out of her way to keep all obits out of papers so I wouldn’t know she passed and wouldn’t show up at the funeral.

    Adoption sucks.

  6. I’m glad I found your story as I too have been left out of the obituary again myself. When my step mom died I found out on Facebook, when I saw pics of the funeral not one of the pictures on the memory board had me in it, after much contemplation those pics probably didn’t exist because I had been excluded longer than I realized. Now my step brother has passed and once again I’m not listed as a sibling in the obituary. Yeah it hurts a little, but these people’s actions say more about who they are than who I am.

  7. How insensitive to have omitted any close immediate family member with whom your brother may have actually had a relationship. I’m sorry for that.

    On another note, I must admit that I have two siblings with whom I had been close as children and earlier in my adult life. After I relocated for career reasons, one sibling said they were upset that my job took me overseas and that I moved. There is no relationship today, I’ll only call occasionally for the sake of my mother. They feel like siblings, nothing more, though I do love them. However, should I write my obituary, I would include them in the, “other relatives and friends,” portion of the writing.

    You have comfort however in having enjoyed an adult relationship with your brother.

  8. This just happened to my mother. She did so much for her siblings and family. Despite being adopted, everyone kept saying that they all love her the most as she is the one that is always there for everyone when they are in need. She was there everyday when her brother was ill until his death, and she was not included in the obituary. It’s a slap in the face and the fact that my mom love them so much when no one noticed that her name was missing said a lot. I let them know how I felt and they added her in, but it feels so insincere. When they need money, they’d call her. When they need support for anything, they’d call her. She loves them so much, so I feel like it would be better if she didn’t know because it would break her heart.

    1. Hi Mia, I’m so sorry this happened. It’s truly devastating and one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through! I feel so bad for your mom. It felt like a knife in the heart to me, and nothing could help the pain go away. I just had to grieve the grief and process the hurt and loss. There truly has been no greater pain than what adoption has brought on. Hug your mom for me! ((((Hugs))))

  9. I am so sorry to read your story and know now a little of your pain. My grandmother died on Friday and, even though I was NC and had called out the family for their abuses and dysfunction, that does erase that I too am a SURVIVOR and should have been listed as such in her obituary. Of course, I was not. I wrote about this very topic in my blog today. It helps to translate the pain to words. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2020/08/erased-removed-from-your-own-family-tree/

    1. Hi Lenora,

      “Well, since finding my voice in 2013, I’m not the type to go silently into the night with my tail tucked between my legs.” – I think we might share some DNA! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

      I loved reading your article and I applaud you on every level. I can relate to so much of it. All the way down to creating FindAGrave pages! I did that with my birth mother, and her mother and a few others. And I inserted myself into the listing of her children since they omitted me in her obituary.

      Keep writing, it helps in the healing process so much. I always say that no matter how I slice it, I’m always going to be an outsider looking in so why not write my truth? At least other adoptees can feel validated and that they aren’t alone as we share our stories.

      Something about being left out of my birth mothers obituary was like a knife in my heart, and a kick in my gut. Logic would say I shouldn’t expect to be in her obituary as she gave me away. However, when you are sitting at her funeral and you are feeling the pain from this is a whole different story. I don’t think I’ve experienced so much pain in my life.

      Big hugs and please know you aren’t alone. XOXOXOXO ❤

  10. I found this blog again, funny what God will use to bring soothing and comfort. I too was left out of my stepmother and stepbrother’s obituaries, years apart, by my step & half siblings. I came to live with my dad & his new family when I was 12, I brought a lot of baggage with me, and although I’ve done a pretty good job of stuffing that pain, it lingers & occasionally has its way with me. I never was fully accepted into that very dysfunctional family. So while it hurt to be left out of their obituaries I wasn’t totally surprised by my siblings actions, I reacted to it the 1st time, but didn’t give them the satisfaction the 2nd time. Why did I need to read this again? Because now I’m an empty nester & that old pain of abandonment is surfacing again, I’m hurting & needed to know that I’m not alone. I instantly felt better finding & reading this again, everything is going to be alright. It’s a beautiful sunny day I’m going to get outside & connect with nature & God. Thank you 🙏🏼

    Sheri Evick

    1. Hi Sheri,

      So glad you have been able to circle back around to my website again. It’s definitely interesting how the universe works!

      I’m so very sorry for your experience in being left out of the obituaries. I know that pain so well, and even when I didn’t expect it to happen again, it did. And I know when my biological father dies, it will happen again. There’s really not words to even describe how that feels. I know you know, and you know I know and in that we know we aren’t alone.

      So glad you are getting outside, and can find a connection with nature. That’s literally what has saved my life. Sending you lots of love, sunshine and light. XOXO Pamela ❤

  11. Hey, I am so sorry. This caught my eye, as it made me think of my husband passing & as i am the 21 yrs younger, 2nd wife, how my hubbys family (sister i assume) made it a point to include, him leaving behind, “a brother, 2 sisters,2 sons (from previous marriage) & a ‘bunch of nieces & nephews’, who loved him very much.” My eyes welt up now as i think back on his passing. At first i told myself, well itd be tacky for me to get upset, bc the funeral/passing was abt him & how wrong for me to turn it around to make it about me. Also that i had absolutely NO say in anything abt his passing or burying of ashes. I dont get the right to keep sum of his ashes? The man whom was my best friend? As he put, “We are connected at yhe hip… We really are,” he’d tell people. His headstone 🪦 also reads, “Loving son, father & brother.” Pretty petty slap in the face if u ask me. I still miss him everyday. (Passed 2017) am i wrong for being upset? Is it me trying to make it abt me? Or am i right, to want to be & deserve to be included on the grievance of his passing? The “family” that had nothing to do with him during our marriage, was mentioned & made to seem as something more close but the wife that was there day in day out, thick & thin, the 1 who knew him best gets to be left out, completely. Didnt even get the right for a last goidbye while he got his ashes buried on my bday, sept8,2017. As i was promised to be notified so i could go. Was notified… Just only on sept 10th…2 days later. Thanks for the format to let out my grieving. (Not that it matters, but hey, from texas, as well)

    1. Hi there, I am so sorry for your loss. This is a heartbreaking situation on top of losing your husband. So glad you could share this here. You didn’t deserve this ! ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s