Although this didn't happen yesterday -- it actually took place about a year and a half ago -- I still find myself sighing in wonder about an event I never could have imagined. Not that what took place was truly unimaginable in any way, but given my family history and all that it involved, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. And it all comes down to this (much abandoned) blog.
On August 12, 2009 I received an email I almost didn't open because from the address and title, it appeared to be spam. The name, although not necessarily a common one like Smith or Jones, wasn't all that unusual, and the subject line said, "It's been a very, very long time." I figured it must be from a company I might have ordered something from way back when or, more likely, some kind of come-on for a sex site (I am forever getting emails offering me the opportunity to increase the size of my non-existent penis). But for some reason, I actually opened it.
I read your blog today for the first time and I could certainly relate to some of your insecurities, especially since we share some of the same genes.
I'm your long lost cousin Lori, yes your uncle Bernie's daughter.
Oddly enough, I live pretty close to you, in North Hills.
Would you be interested in meeting for a cup of coffee?
Lori, my first cousin, who along with her sister Carol, I hadn't seen (save for one brief meeting in 1989) on any regular basis since 1975.
I was stunned, immediately knocked into a daze. All I could say aloud was "Holy shit," which I continued repeating both outwardly and inwardly for some time afterward. But it sure didn't stop me from responding, and I dashed off an email immediately. We made plans to meet the following Sunday for breakfast at a nearby diner.
It was one of the most wonderful days of my life. And not long afterward, I saw Carol again, too, who as it turned out originally found my blog and passed the information on to Lori. And since then, we have been together on every Jewish holiday -- Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, Passover -- holidays that long held emotionally-loaded memories for me of my immediate family in all its dysfunctional glory, but were now replaced by a sense of peace I never could have dreamed possible. And every bit as wonderful, my children have been afforded the opportunity to celebrate these occasions as well -- with others, not just us, alone -- creating for them warm memories that will hopefully remain with them for the rest of their lives.
Life is good.