LOUISVILLE, KY (September 12, 2017) – Zella Chambliss, Lantern program director at Morning Pointe of Louisville Senior Living, is all about keeping relatives close to their loved ones, but she had no clue that she would be reunited with her own.
After 36 years apart, Zella would be reunited with her half-sister, Tiffany, during a "back to school cruise-in” event at the senior living and Alzheimer’s early memory care community. The two had never met until that day, despite living in the same city for most of their lives.
“Our father didn’t know that she existed,” Zella said. “I never knew her name and she never knew I existed.”
The sisters also share a link with a brother, whom Zella hasn’t met yet.
“I knew there were other siblings,” Tiffany says. “We had siblings that passed away, but to my knowledge I knew of an adoptive daughter. I didn’t know other sisters existed.
The two women first made contact on Facebook using the Messenger app. Tiffany initiated the search while looking for information about her late mother, which led her to Zella a few months later. Since, the sisters have kept in touch on a daily basis by phone.
While getting to know each other, Zella learned that Tiffany is a member of the “Wilder Than Most” car club, so she invited her to Morning Pointe’s “cruise-in” event.
As Tiffany pulled up in her classic 1955 Pontiac, Zella described herself as a “nervous wreck.”
“I was nervous, anxious, crying and shaking,” she says. “Everyone was telling me it would be okay. I saw her pull up and ran back into the building to collect myself. I couldn’t believe this was taking place.”
The two women shared a classic reunion moment, running towards each other to end in a tight embrace.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Tiffany says. “When I saw her face, I felt a sense that something was missing in my life.”
Tiffany says Zella has been a key to unlock doors to much of their missing history.
“She’s been able to provide me with tons of information about the father I didn’t know,” she says. “I was immediately grateful and happy that a piece of me is her. She fills a void for me, and I fill a void for her.”
Soon to be a grandmother, Tiffany says she could have used her sister’s knowledge and support when her own mother passed away, but she says she now has reassurance that family isn’t far away.
“It’s good to know you’re not alone,” Zella says.”
The Lamplight at Morning Pointe Alzheimer's Center of Excellence early memory care community will celebrate its grand opening Sept. 14, at 4 p.m., at 4701 S. Hurstbourne Parkway. For more information, or for an interview opportunity, call (502) 212-5199.