Indulge this please--January 29, 2008 was the 40th anniversary of my father's death from lung cancer. I was 13 at the time, and though old enough to remember him, I was not old enough to ever learn what he was truly all about.
On that anniversary, I idly typed his full name into the google search engine. On the surface, this was a ridiculous act. My father was a mailman, not a profession likely to allow him to live on in contemporary cyberspace. The first screen that popped up referenced an ancestry search posted on a genealogy discussion forum. Long story short--the searcher was a first cousin. Her father died in the 1950s when she was a child. He and my father were brothers.
This cousin (and her sister) were not mysteries to my sisters and me, and we were not mysteries to them. The older girls on each side remember playing together when young, and each family has pictures of the other. But after the deaths of our respective fathers, the widows (our mothers), who lived in different states and were perhaps a bit overwhelmed, lost touch. It turns out that the cousin I stumbled upon had been looking for us for years.
There followed an orgy of emailing and the exchange of pictures and ancestry info (a hobby of my cousin). The anniversary date--the date of discovery--was consumed by such activity, which has continued. My oldest sister has already visited my cousin, traveling from California to New England to do so.
This all stemmed from a wistful remembrance of my father, who died 40 years ago, and whom I never really knew. I always wished I had known him, and that good wish led to this somewhat remarkable reunion.