Because of this event with my father, I learned I had family I didn't know I had. My father has a brother Herbert who lives in Bremen Germany. Strangely I didn't even know that until I became a young adult. I've never met him. He has a son Richard Brinkmann, whom I also never met or even knew about. My mother's family was a different story. Even though her sisters were in Israel, Canada, and Poland, we kept in touch. My mother would go there or they would come here.
However, my father had a different connection to family. A non-connection. My cousin Richard Brinkmann has three children, Simona, Davey, and a Emmanuel. It turns out Simona lives in New Jersey and when her husband read the story of my father's demise he put two and two together and realized that we were related. In the perfect synchronicity of things, her two younger brothers, both college students in Germany, were visiting the US at that time. So I got to meet my father's brother's son's children, which of course makes us…ah..."something".
Also, about a week before my father's passing, I was wondering about an old friend of mine. Rochelle. She was the best friend of my girlfriend in high school and college and we ultimately became good friends. The last time we saw each other was 1979, about a year and a half after her marriage and the year after mine. I don't remember what made me think of her, but I felt a twinge of sadness that I didn't stay connected to her and her husband Al. Well when she read of my father's demise she found me on Facebook. It turns out she lives 22 blocks from my father's apartment. We had a wonderful visit and now I have two more friends.
I also visited with my Uncle Kurt. Kurt came to the United States with my mother and father and lived with them for seven years. Kurt really, really, liked children. In fact I called him "da-da" before I called my own father that.
I'll never forget Saturday nights, age 6 or 7. My parents would put me to bed. I would pretend to be asleep. Kurt would arrive to babysit. And as soon as my parents left, he would come into the bedroom, I would come out of my ruse and we would watch this wondrous thing called television.
At 9:30 was Paladin, at 10:00 was Gunsmoke (still in the half hour version), and the finale at 10:30 was Sea Hunt. Thanks Uncle Kurt!
I not only reconnected again to him but also with his granddaughter Katrina, which in relation to me makes her…ah..."something."
So yes, I did lose a father, but I also gained two friends, one uncle, and four somethings.