In life, timing is everything. Understandably, the decisions we make when we reach a fork in the road might be different when we are in our 40s as opposed to when we were 20. We can only hope that whether we choose to go left or right leads to growth rather than regret.
This fork in the road scenario is where Bruce Hollywood, 57, found himself after recovering from a heart attack. Suddenly, he felt the time was right to do something that he had never felt the desire to do.
Bruce was born in Japan during the 1960s but was given up for adoption. Happily, an American couple who was stationed with the U.S. military decided to adopt him and take him back to America.
Even though Bruce’s adoptive parents were always open to him meeting his biological mother, it was something he rarely thought about. He had always been fine with being adopted and even turned down his parent’s offer to fly him out to Japan to meet her.
Then all of that changed when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 44. Meeting his birth mother suddenly shifted to the top of the list. First, Bruce contacted the Japanese Embassy, then the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, but didn’t have any luck. He also hired a private investigator but still, nothing turned up.
Finally, after several months, he got a call from the Japanese Embassy. They had good news; his mother, Nobue Ouchi, had been located. Bruce called her that very day and they were able to speak for the first time through an interpreter.
The interpreter informed Bruce that the following day was his mother’s 65th birthday and all she had ever wished for was his return. She also explained why Nobue had never married, “because she said in her heart there was only room for one man. And it was you, and she knew you would be back.”
Bruce also discovered that his birth mother owned a restaurant that she had named after him. Prior to returning to America, his adoptive parents took Nobue a baby photo and told her they’d named him Bruce. “And I thought this is either the most incredible story I’ve ever heard or this woman is crazy, and these things aren’t true’,” he recalled.
Ten days later, Bruce was on an airplane to Japan to meet his biological mother face to face. Everything she had told him about his adoption and the restaurant turned out to be true. His father was a U.S. military man who had intended to marry Nobue but never completed the paperwork. He returned home to South Carolina unaware that she was expecting his child.
Now, when Bruce looks back at his decision to meet his birth mother, he believes it changed his life for the better. They became very good friends and traveled back and forth regularly to visit each other.
When Nobue passed away three years later, the only regret Bruce felt was that he hadn’t met her sooner.