In a heartwarming example of a very special delivery, 9-year-old Rowan Torrez received a postcard in the mail from his father, just a few days before the second anniversary of his father’s death.
Rowan was only 7 when his father died from a fatal neurological disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
“It’s a horrible, horrible thing and they can’t do anything to stop it or slow it down,” Rowan’s mom and the widow of Joseph Torrez said of her husband’s death. “The protein unfolds in your brain. You brain breaks down and looks like a sponge.”
In life, though, by all accounts, Rowan’s father Joseph Torrez was an extraordinary man. He had made the difficult decision to leave his family where they were in Littleton, Colorado, as he joined the Navy while simultaneously earning two masters degrees from MIT. The hard work, dedication, and sacrifices were made all in order to better provide for his small family.
Despite the separation, Torrez made huge efforts to remain present in his son’s life.
“He would see him as much as he could,” Julie Van Stone, Joseph’s widow and Rowan’s mother, said in an interview with ABC News of the relationship between her husband and Rowan. “Rowan was always going somewhere fun to see him. We went to New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and California to visit him. He really was a ‘Disneyland dad’ because that’s what they did together when he was stationed in San Diego.”
For Rowan, Van Stone says, his relationship with his dad was nothing but good.
“His dad was all good times, and that’s a really good thing for him to have now.”
And one of the ways Joseph Torrez maintained a presence in his son Joseph’s life was through postcards. After graduating from MIT, Torrez started the drive from Boston back home to his family, and in each state, he would send a postcard to his son.
Van Stone says she remembers her husband asking if Rowan had received his postcards, and telling him that they had gotten three or four. She said that Torrez had mentioned sending more, but it was assumed that those postcards had gotten lost in the mail, and were forgotten about.
But on March 7, just a few days before the anniversary of Joseph Torrez’s death on March 13, Rowan received a postcard in the mail from his father. The postcard was dated June 10, 2007. The postcard’s note was brief but poignant.
“Hello from Pennsylvania. I love you and I miss you so much. See you soon. Love, Daddy.”
Van Stone says that receiving the postcard was extraordinary enough, but that the timing of it seems “just crazy.” After receiving the handwritten note from his father, Rowan seems “quietly pleased,” Van Stone says, and added that he placed the postcard inside his father’s Navy hat, which he keeps in a hutch above his desk.
As for herself, Van Stone says that she keeps remembering the final words Joseph Torrez told her before he died two years ago, words that resonate even more so after receiving the postcard for Rowan.
“He just kept saying, ‘Everything’s a circle. We’re a family. We’re going to be together again.’ He kept repeating it. ‘Everything’s a circle. All that matters is the love.'”
The love Joseph Torrez had for his son Rowan was evident throughout his life and has remained even after his death. Rowan’s mom finds a great deal of comfort and meaning in this.
“He found a way to be in touch. At some point coincidence becomes meaningful, and I think we’re there.”
Another child recently believed her father, who had died when she was very young, found a way to let her know he was still in her life, as well. Click here to read her heartwarming story.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]