Brothers: Unknown until now

Published 7:03 pm Friday, August 25, 2023

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When Billy Williams’ mother died, he was aware that she kept important papers and information in a safe deposit box.

That box held, perhaps, not a secret, but, information that, for whatever reason, was unknown to her son.

“As I was going through the papers in the safe deposit box, I found the obituary for my dad,” Williams said. “I read it and was surprised to find five sons listed instead of three. I knew my dad had been married before but I didn’t know that he had two other sons and that I had two older half- brothers.”

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For Williams, the sudden knowledge that he had “mystery” brothers was both mystifying and exciting.

“Finding out that you have brothers that you never knew about, was also puzzling,” Williams said. “Why didn’t our daddy tell us? Why didn’t our mama?  We knew our dad had been married before so…. why not tell us about his other sons? About our brothers?”

That question could not be answered.

Williams began looking for his half-brothers Phillip Edgar Williams and Sydney Wayne Williams.

Billy Williams located Wayne in Milton, Florida, and then located Phillip in Santa Ana, California. They were as surprised to know about him as he was to know about them. Both, were willing to, if perhaps, not interested to, meet with him.

For Billy Williams, it was important for him to meet his two half-brothers.

“Didn’t know how the meeting would go but I could, and would, accept whatever happened,” he said.

Last week, Billy Williams had the opportunity to meet his two half-brothers in Milton. And, there was an immediate connection.

“Even though I had never seen them before, it was like we had been brothers all these years,” Williams said. “Phillip and Wayne are older, 73 and 70. My brother and I are 59 and 57. My daddy was married to their mother, so I don’t know why we weren’t told that we have half-brothers. We probably won’t ever know and that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we know now.”

Williams said meeting his two half-brothers was a high point in his life.

“It was like we had never been apart,” Williams said. “They didn’t know about us and we didn’t know about them. We missed sharing our lives with each other but now we can. It’s like we’ve never been apart.”

Williams said there is no, and will not be, the answer to the  question as to why the big secret.

“But, I’ll never know. Only God knows,” he said.

Williams said he is thankful that his mother kept, his dad’s obituary. If she had not, he would have missed the joy of having “two amazing brothers.”

Williams, a veteran of the Gulf War, said he experienced brotherhood in the military but there is nothing to compare with finding a blood-brother after years of not-knowing.