Father & Daughter Reunite After 43 Years Just 2 Days Before Tragedy Strikes

Old HandsA father and daughter were reunited after 43 years on opposite sides of the globe, and it was just in the nick of time. Mary Garcia had not seen her father since she was 2 years old, until she boarded a plane in Texas to go to Scotland and see her dying father. Jim McKelvie, 66, died two days later, holding his long lost daughter's hand.


In 1971, McKelvie and Mary's mom, Maria, split up, and she moved the toddler to the states. Even though he didn't see his daughter again, he always carried a picture of him holding her at all times. Six months ago, Maria reached out and found him on social media, and they reconnected.

Just a few months later, Mary got devastating news about her estranged father -- he was dying. They talked face to face for the first time on a video call, after which Mary hopped on a plane and flew 4,600 miles to Scotland.

Jim's granddaughter (from another marriage) Claire Houston said, "In September he took very ill and was taken into hospital where he was for two weeks, then we got the heartbreaking news that he had terminal cancer ... I immediately contacted Mary and told her the sad news and we agreed to stay in touch to keep her up to date on his progress."

She continued, "I then asked her if she would be willing to visit as it would be the greatest gift I could give to him -- and she told me she would think about it as it was a huge decision ... the following week I took my iPad into the hospital and we FaceTimed Mary in America -- it was a beautiful and emotional day."

That very night, Mary made the decision to go. She dropped everything and got on a plane the next day. It's a good thing she did, too ... 48 hours later and she never would've had the chance to meet her dad.

They didn't tell McKelvie she was coming, but Houston said he was delighted when she surprised him. She said, "By this time my grandfather wasn't able to talk, walk, eat, or drink and he opened his eyes only rarely, but he held Mary's hand and knew she was there ... myself, my mum, and Mary were holding his hands when he passed away on Saturday."

The family intends to keep in touch from now on. Houston said, "Sometimes when you meet someone for the first time, it can be a bit awkward, but it wasn't and we connected immediately. We are definitely going to keep in touch as much as we can and I am hopefully going to visit her in Texas and she hopes to visit again."

It's almost impossible to think about parents and children being unable to connect even across the globe these days, but it wasn't always so easy. We don't know the circumstances of this family's separation, but they may not have had many options. Even when the technology became available to globally communicate, I'm sure many people who have lost touch with close relatives believe too much time has passed.

It's tragic that this woman only got to spend two days with her dad on his deathbed, but such a blessing she at least got to meet him before he died.

Would you have gone to see your dying father if you hadn't seen him since you were 2?


Image via hapal/Flickr

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