You can tell it is holiday time when you find yourself watching a tv programme that you would never normally come across. Earlier this week it was “Long lost family” – a programme that tries to reunite people with family they have never met or knew existed in last night’s case. So a 55 year old man was trying to trace his biological mother who gave him up for adoption as a baby and a mother who had given her daughter up for adoption at the age of three months was trying to trace her daughter. The former’s mother had died but he was reunited with a sister he didn’t know that he had. The mother and daughter were reunited so in both cases there was happiness and some degree of closure.
Quite apart from feeling slightly uncomfortable at intruding on the raw and personal emotions of these poor people, I couldn’t help thinking about the thousands of people who want to trace family and are unable to do so. Or the tragic cases you hear about where family are traced but don’t want to meet the person looking so desperately for them. Does it soothe our guilt at the disconnectedness of modern life by seeing these happy yet untypical reunions? About a month ago the remains of a dead woman were found about three miles from where I live. Despite high publicity, fairly decent descriptions and eventually a photo-fit reconstruction of the woman’s face it took almost all of that time for the woman to be identified.
Too many people are just lost and don’t want to be found. And even in our modern world of sophisticated surveillance and advanced technological data search and retrieval, people can just tragically become invisible and disappear. Makes you think doesn’t it?