During the 1940s, my father had four children. His marriage to their mother, unfortunately, unraveled. He later married my mother in the 1950s and fathered four more. I was 10 in 1967 when he passed away. At the funeral, we younger kids were introduced for the first time to our older siblings, all young adults. Brought together briefly by his death, the paternal bond to our half-brothers and sister would remain dormant for more than 30 years.
Thanksgiving weekend of 2000, six of the eight children of William J. Fitzgerald gathered for a reunion. Thanks to the Internet, my sister located one of our older brothers and after 33 years of wondering what happened to each other, that dormant connection came alive. We shared pictures, stories and hugs. It was happy to meet each other and sad to relive Daddy Fitz's death. Best of all, though, it was a joyful reunion that has continued every year since then. There is amazing strength in the common bond that creates a family.