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Siblings find each other in Digby after 54 years

Dave Stewart with half-sister Janet Nowell. When they met, rain poured outside, but they couldn't have cared less. They jumped up and hugged each other for several moments, forming a connection that will last a lifetime.
Dave Stewart with half-sister Janet Nowell. When they met, rain poured outside, but they couldn't have cared less. They jumped up and hugged each other for several moments, forming a connection that will last a lifetime.

DIGBY, NS – Rain poured down as half-siblings Dave Stewart and Janet met for the first time in 54 years in the Digby Sobeys parking lot on May 9.

The brother and sister share the same mother but were raised separately – Dave in North Range and Janet near Niagara, Ontario.

The two raced towards each other at the same time, enveloping each other in a massive bear hug.

Their aunt, Glendean Parker, helped Janet arrange the meet up and told Dave she was bringing someone for him to meet, but didn’t specify who.

“I had no idea my sister was in the car. My aunt then introduced her as my sister and we both just jumped out of the car at the same time,” says Dave.

“The tsunami has hit. This is just so absolutely amazing, it has to be a miracle.”

Dave and Janet hugged for several minutes before letting go, getting back in the car and getting some food.

“People were pointing, smiling and staring at us as we hugged and jumped up and down in the rain,” says Janet.

 

Finding Dave

Dave and Janet learned the same year that the other existed. He was ten, she was eight.

This is just one of many coincidences the siblings have discovered.

Dave, who was raised from 4 months old by guardians Carl and Ruth Wright, would spend one week every summer with his biological grandmother, Gladys White.

One such summer he overheard her explaining to her neighbours who he was and heard her mention that there was also a girl. He couldn’t get an answer from her after asking who the girl was.

“People just didn’t talk about these things in those days,” he says.

The brother and sister each found out the other existed the same year, when Janet was eight and Dave was ten. “This was only one of many crazy connections we’ve discovered about ourselves since meeting,” says Dave.

Janet discovered she had two brothers after her father mentioned it when she was eight. She had no idea who they were or where they lived.

“When you lose a brother or sister, part of you goes with them,” says Dave.

Janet resolved to figure out who her brothers were and tried several times over the years to find them.

She wanted to know her mother and was unsuccessful for years until she found an obituary for her late husband with her name in it.

 

Success at last

Around one year ago Janet searched for her mother on the internet and found a news story about a home invasion on the Bear River reserve with names that matched the obituary.

Unable to track her mother down, Janet used Canada 411 to research a second name in the story: Glendean Parker. She answered the phone saying, “Yes, you are my niece and yes, I know where your brother is.”

Dave and Janet are now 64 and 62 respectively. They each describe a profound feeling that they knew something was always missing from their lives.

That something was each other.

“We really lost out not knowing we had a family,” says Dave.

Their brother Michael passed away eight years ago in Sudbury. While Janet regrets not having met him, she is elated to have at least reconnected with one of her brothers.

“This was meant to be,” she says.

“I finally feel whole.”

 

Moving forward together

The two siblings spent the entire month of May getting to know one another, often meeting for lunches, supper and for coffee, where Dave would introduce Janet to all of his friends.

Dave Stewart and Janet Nowell finish each others' sentences and share a significant physical resemblance. "It's a synchronicity that you just never find," says Janet.

Dave says most cannot believe the story and are dumbfounded that such a coincidence happened in Digby.

“People talk about these things happening on reality TV, but we’re actually living it,” says Dave.

The pair have gone over Dave’s photo albums and have each shared memories from their respective childhoods.

They finish each other’s sentences even though they've just begun spending time together.

“It’s just been this synchronicity that you never find,” says Janet.

She intends to come back next year and follow up with other family members.

The two not only intend but have vowed to stay in touch and see each other as often as they are able.

“I will never, ever lose my family ever again,” says Janet.

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