A few days after Father's Day this year, 87-year-old Duane Schrock Sr. of Virginia received a card from his son in the mail. It read: "Dear Dad, we haven't been in touch for quite a while, I'm doing fine and am very happy in Richmond, I'd like to hear from you. Have a Happy Father's Day, Love Duane." It was a simple message, but to Schrock, it was "unbelievable." The card had actually been sent in 1989, six years before Duane Schrock Jr. died of AIDS at 45 in 1995. Over 26 years, it had been returned to sender and forwarded back and forth, but it had failed to find its intended recipient. "Somebody picked up the ball and carried it and after all these years they must still have forwarded it," Schrock tells WABC.
At least part of the delay in the card's delivery is likely due to Schrock's various moves around the country, but he's grateful to have it now. "It was sure welcome, and it restored faith in the mail service," he says. "I still kind of tear up when I think about it." The card, with a picture of a panda on the front, is especially significant to Schrock because his relationship with his son was sometimes strained. Schrock says he didn't approve of his son's gay lifestyle, but before Duane died, Schrock asked him "if he made peace with God because I want to see him in heaven," reports ABC News. Schrock says he considers the late card a sign from heaven that his son is OK. (An elderly man recently discovered he had a son thanks to a long-hidden letter.)