So one day I received a beautiful card covered in a pretty picture of yellow daisies, glowing yellow and green. It was the first correspondence i received after a combative trial, having prevailed on 12 of 13 counts. Having lost on one, i was a bit crestfallen…even melancholy. But this post card actually came from Zurich, Switzerland. I read it and the author said that she read about my case, as I am a cancer survivor, and the case made international headlines. She asked permission to come and visit me. This was quite surprising, and i just meditated on how kind a vibe i received from it but didn’t know what to do. Why would someone come to visit from overseas? Perhaps a social activist? So i sat on it…
Then i was transferred to Butner Federal medical Complex to deal with stage 4 prostate cancer, and its terminal status. While under treatment, the C.O. called me over the PA system, “T., mail in the office”. He handed me a letter, again from Switzerland, but 2 months after the lovely card was sent. So i opened it, but this time it was a 2 page letter. It began, “Dear Uncle Vassily…” well, i thought one of my nieces wrote this…but then i continued reading “My name is Dunya…” i recognized this name as the one sent earlier. Then my mind raced back and forth: “wait, why is she calling me Uncle?…” continuing, “i am the granddaughter of your brother Antonio…” wait! I don’t have a brother named Antonio, i have one named Florian. I looked at the C.O. and said “this must be a mistake…”. But wait! She knows my name? So i continued reading “i am the granddaughter and my dad is the son of your father, Vannoy…” HOLY MOLIE!! THEN I REMEMBERED MY DAD WAS STATIONED IN ITALY IN 1945 WW2! And he showed me a picture of his girlfriend on that cute little Florence Bridge when i was a little boy. And this must be their son! And she must be my brother’s daughter, my dad’s granddaughter! MY NIECE!! I turned the page: PICTURES!! He looks just like me & my dad! And she looks like an angel, sitting in a restaurant with my entire sister siblings! All 5 of them! I dropped to my knees and began to scream! The C.O. freaked out! I cried!
How did they find me, you ask? I posted my DNA to 23&me.com and ancestry.com…and so did they. He’s been looking for his family for 30 years, and finally this protocol became available and here we are…I kept reading: “We want you to know that we love you and want to care for you…”
— Vassily T.