By Tyler Marr, paNOW
Before Christmas Day 2017, the last time Sharon Burant spent the holidays with her sister, Darry-Ann Coles, was in 1948.
Burant was barely a year old, and her sister, three.
Aside from a few short hours they spent together with their mother one day a year later, the two would not meet again until 2017 — and only Burant would grow up remembering her sister existed.
Burant and Coles were separated as very young children into different foster homes. Despite family attempts to attain the children, each went on to be adopted and grew up apart.
Due to what is believed to be repression about her time spent in the home, Coles lived her life with no recollection of her sister or any memories before she left the home at age five in the back of her new family’s car.
Coles’ adopted father was similarly never sure if she had a sister or not.
But after 65 years, Burant, now 68, and Coles, 71, spent their first Christmas together after re-connecting for the first time in March 2017.
The reunion came about after Coles’ daughter took an Ancestry DNA test. After submitting it, she learned of a match with a lady in Nova Scotia. They talked and when the lady — who was a cousin of Coles — correctly guessed her mother’s name, Coles’ daughter began the hunt to learn who else was out there.
After some digging, she found an aunt and eventually learned of Coles’ sister living in Saskatoon — a mere 130 kilometres away from her mother’s home in Prince Albert.
Not wanting to dump the news of this unknown sister on her mother over the phone, Cole’s daughter told her she had a work-related meeting in Saskatoon and flew out from British Columbia after contacting Burant.
She told Burant she wanted her to meet a lady called Darry-Ann in Prince Albert. Burant, who her entire life believed her sister’s name was Diane as she couldn’t say Darry-Ann as a child, quickly put two and two together and realized: “this is my sister.”
“It was incredible,” Burant told paNOW. “I was waiting 65 years for that.”
“I never had any family before,” Coles said of the moment they met while holding back tears. “I thought I was alone in the world.”
The two met on St. Patrick’s Day, which was fitting as the DNA test revealed they were Irish — despite Burant believing she was Scottish and Coles thinking she was French.
Coles simply described the past year as a “miracle” saying, “God works in mysterious ways and he really did a good one this time.”
While Burant was eager to see her sister — as she “remembered her… and it just seemed natural” — Coles carried some hesitation.
“I was actually scared stiff,” she said. “I was scared she wouldn’t like me.”
Thankfully, this was not the case. Both said they are “quickly falling in love with each other” and “have never run out of anything to say.”
While catching up, the siblings have learned of many odd parallels in their lives. The two have lived in the exact same cities, though at different times, over the years. Further, each once called the same block home, 156th Street, while living in Edmonton.
Another instance that shocked the sisters surrounded the name Louise.
When Burant had her first child, she named her Diane, after what she thought was her sister’s name, and picked Louise as her daughter’s middle name.
“But when I met (Darry-Ann), I found out that when she was adopted, her adopted mother changed her middle name from Jacqueline, after our grandfather, to Louise,” Burant said, which shocked them both. “We are just learning so much.”
Since March, the sisters have spent plenty of time together and visited each other’s families.
Coles described learning of her new family as a “fast roller-coaster,” as Burant has seven children with grandchildren and herself, only two.
Burant said she is looking forward to making up the lost years in the future and had a simple message for anyone else attempting to find their siblings: “Never give up because you just never know.”
In the near future, the two have plans to recreate the old photo of them at the address in Saskatoon that was written on the back.