Evelyn Grace Johnson (later Harris) at age 2
I’ve only known about this family of cousins since October 2017. The first time I became aware of this one is because her name appeared on the back of her parents’ gravestone in Pine Bluff Arkansas. I was at the cemetery to visit the grave of my grandfather, Jay Church Moore. Nearby was the grave of my mom’s half-sister Javene. I only missed her by about 2 months because she lived to a very ripe old age.
I googled and found that Evelyn lived in Pine Bluff but could not locate a phone number and so we went on to Memphis that day. Then in May 2018, we returned to the Arkansas area to visit Evelyn’s sister, Sherry, who gave me so much insight into the family, shared so many pictures and stories that I felt as though I had lived in this, my family, for all my life.
I didn’t see Evelyn during that journey either. I talked to her on the phone. She said she wasn’t well but maybe when she was better we could meet. That day, sadly, didn’t come because she passed away last Friday without us ever accomplishing that someday meeting.
I feel I missed opportunities three times now – once with Javene and then twice with Evelyn. However, I am blessed that I even know they existed. For over 60 years, my two parents status as adoptees meant we didn’t know our original family roots. Now I do. And so today, I mourn a missed opportunity – while counting my blessings – at the same time.