Over the last month and a half, we have been on a weekly roller coaster of emotions as Alex Jones brings us stories of families who have been left confused and hurt by their family secrets.
But through AncestryDNA tests and family history research, some of those stories have had happy endings with the truth finally revealed and family members free to move on to more positive futures.
This week brings us to the final installment of The Secrets In My Family series and below are 40 things I thought while watching Episode 6.
Want to see more? You can watch highlights from the show and learn more about AncestryDNA here.
1. Well this is it! The last episode of The Secrets In My Family. What a journey it’s been.
2. For every heart-breaking and heart-warming family secret we’ve experienced over the last five weeks, we have consumed at least one cup of tea.
3. That’s a lot of cups of tea, to be clear.
4. With that said… let me take a sip of my Earl Grey and let’s get on with Episode Six.
5. First up, we have Alan, an only child from a very loving family. But at the age of 11, everything changed.
6. Alan discovered his dad wasn’t his biological father. Alan’s parents had needed a sperm donor to conceive.
7. “We don’t want to hurt each other, and that means not speaking about things that need to be dealt with.” So right, Alan. This series we’ve seen so many unnecessary and (sometimes) cruel secrets, but how many family secrets actually come as a result of love for each other?
8. Unsurprisingly, the secret of Alan’s conception had a big impact on Alan’s life – his relationships, his career path, and his health.
9. Over in south-east London, we have Kes. Her father was an alcoholic and her childhood was difficult as a result.
10. But at 13, he made a drunken confession to Kes that he had been married before and had walked out on his three children – Kes’s half-siblings.
11. The fact that he abandoned her siblings didn’t sit well with Kes, or her sister Gayle.
12. With Kes battling cancer over the last couple of years, she’s more determined than ever to find and befriend her siblings.
13. So it’s Alex and The Secrets In My Family team to the rescue!
14. Sounds like Kes and Gayle’s childhood was extremely challenging due to their father’s alcoholism. But Kes is such a good egg (she’s a priest after all…) that she continued to visit her dad throughout her adult life until he passed away.
15. Sounds like Kes’ dad has been telling little white lies for a long time, making it very hard for Kes to track down her half-siblings by herself.
16. Alan has held off from exploring the identity of his biological father out of respect for his dad, who he didn’t want to hurt or confuse while he was alive. Once again, holding back from the truth out of family love.
17. Due to the nature of his conception, there’s no guarantee that, even if Alan finds his biological father, that he will want to meet. Alan has a tough journey ahead.
18. Thanks to team genealogist, Olivia, Kes may have found her three half-siblings. Oliva is ordering the birth certificates to make sure they’re the correct people.
19. Kes tracked down her half-brother Russell many years ago, and wrote to him out of hope that he might rescue her from their abusive father. Russell wasn’t open to meeting at the time.
20. Given that Kes has reached out to her half-brother before, we hope she isn’t faced with the same disappointment.
21. Meanwhile, Alan’s journey so far is making him determined to be more open with his mum, which is already a nice outcome from his story.
22. All Alan knows about his father was that he was a trainee doctor who liked skiing, two details that seem so minor, but which to Alan, were revolutionary. With those two details, his dad became a real person in Alan’s eyes.
23. Good news for Kes is that Olivia has definitely found Kes’ half-siblings. The bad news is that they’re still unsure about whether they want to meet Kes.
24. Alan is meeting with a fertility specialist in order to try and understand more about the process back in the 80s.
25. Now Alan is faced with the reality that he may also have half-siblings, and trying to understand what the motive behind his biological father’s donation was.
26. Good news! Russell is open to meeting Kes. It’s not the whole family, but it’s a start.
27. Sometimes there’s a lot of power in a well-written letter. Here’s hoping Kes’s letter to her siblings does the trick.
28. It’s lovely to see how close this journey has made Alan and his mum closer. It’s their journey, rather than just Alan’s.
29. I know that driveway. Reunion house!
30. Kes is noticeably excited. Look at her beaming!
31. Ooh! Half-sister Sandra is at the reunion house as well! Not quite ready to meet Kes but maybe she’ll change her mind.
32. I imagine hearing about their father’s behaviour during Kes and Gayle’s childhood would be a tough revelation for Russell.
33. Oh Sandra is going in! Bless.
34. Lovely to see years of confusion and hurt being healed by the possibility of a positive future together.
35. Kes is getting the loving family she’s always wanted.
36. “More people to love. More people to love me. More people to share the love with.” Well if that isn’t a nice note to end on, I don’t know what is!
37. Choking up a bit watching all the reunions we’ve experienced.
38. Kirsty’s back from Episode 1!
39. So happy to see that Kirsty and her dad are developing their relationship and that she’s met her half-siblings.
40. Feeling a bit teary after all that. Best to make a cup of tea…