It was a challenge for my generation to keep in touch before the invention of the Internet. Having the ability to “search” for a missing friend or family member and utilize social networking sites like Facebook to reconnect has proved invaluable. Unfortunately, it also has its downside. Finding classmates from over 40 years ago has included learning about those who have weathered some pretty tough storms and/or passed away.

Recently, I googled a friend from my high school years and was shocked to pull up his obituary. I was so upset, I cried for hours. I still visualized him as the teenager I was friends with, back in the 60’s. Digging a little deeper, I found information on his immediate family members which included a wife, daughter and a son.

Within minutes, I found both his children on Facebook. I quickly sent off a message to his daughter, Katrina, and was overjoyed to receive a response. Through several more correspondences with her, I caught up on the life of my friend, in the 4o years since I last saw him. (He died Dec.26, 2008).

What was shared was the story of a loving, talented Father, stricken at the prime of his life with Multiple Sclerosis. I was touched to learn of the devotion of the woman who married him, loving her man unconditionally, through every stage of his debilitating illness. I learned of my friend’s many creative endeavors, including a career as a music video producer. From a daughter’s recollections of her Father’s life, I realized how courageous my friend was, refusing to allow a disease to stop him from living every day to the fullest.

Most importantly, I discovered one of the greatest gifts he left behind… A beautiful, sensitive 23 year old daughter, who lovingly wrote about her Father… “He was, is, my best friend. He was a truly remarkable man.”

Of Blessed Memory
Barry “Pinky” Ralbag

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