After 60 years apart, a Young mother and her son were reunited in an emotional gathering last month.
In the early 1950s, at around age 21, Betty Carson was forced to escape a violent marriage in Queensland and, with much despair, leave her three children behind.
“It nearly broke my heart,” she told The Young Witness quietly.
After travelling to Melbourne, Betty remarried, settled in Sydney, giving birth to seven more children. She relocated to Young with her new family around 20 years later.
A son from this second marriage, Mohammad Carson, said his mother never hid the fact she had three other children, placing pictures of them around the house.
From about the age of 10, he knew exactly who the children in the pictures were.
“These brothers and sisters have been in my heart for 37 years,” Mohammad said.
“I used to think about them every day and wonder what it would be like to meet them.”
But Mohammad didn’t want to push his mother in finding out more, as he knew how difficult it was for her to discuss.
Meanwhile, John Proctor, a son from the first marriage, was desperately searching for his mother.
But after spending a substantial amount of money with the Salvation Army trying to find her, he got nowhere.
It was only by complete chance, “a stab in the dark”, John’s daughter Kylie solved the mystery.
On the internet, she came across a story about a Betty Turner (Betty’s maiden name) and used the comment section to ask if this was the same Betty Turner who was her grandmother.
To her delight, Mohammad’s sister, Yvonne McGregor, responded with the incredible news that it was and numbers were quickly exchanged.
On speaking to his brother John for the first time over the phone, Mohammod said he felt an instant connection and arranged for the momentous reunion with his mother, and some of his other brothers and sisters.
Betty described seeing her son for the first time in 60 years as “beautiful”.
“I always thought I would see them again, before I passed away,” she said.
Mohammad said he welcomed his brother with open arms.
“The voices were quivering, the eyes were watering – it’s just amazing to see these big blokes with teary eyes,” he said.
However, there was also some sad news discovered at the reunion.
The three children had been “through the mill”, having been given up for adoption by their father shortly after their mother left.
For all those years, Betty had believed her children were safe and had no idea of their fate.
But the children didn’t place blame on their mother, said Mohammad.
“They knew how hard the father was,” he said.
Mohammed hoped their meeting now would help heal some of that pain.
They were both also devastated to learn one of the children, Bruce Proctor, had passed away in a work related incident.
But this was not what they wanted to focus on - they were simply overjoyed at coming together at long last.
“The good side of the story is the here and now,” Mohammad said. “It’s better to find out I’ve got all these beautiful nephews and nieces.”
He was also excited to meet his sister Margaret when she visits Young in the next couple of weeks.
“I can’t wait,” he said, “I wish she was already here.”
“To me it’s a dream come true, it’s a miracle.”