Brothers reunited after 70 years say they're making up for lost time

CNN -- The story of the Holland brothers goes back more than 80 years.

Frank Holland and John Holland Jr. hadn't seen each other since the mid-1940s.

They were separated at a young age, but they reconnected in a children's home.

Frank was abandoned by their mother, while John was left at the children's home by his father.

A few years later, at ages 13 and 14, they were pulled apart again.

"I went with an aunt of mine, and Junior was still in the home," Frank said. "He stayed there until he was 18, and then he went into the Navy."

Then came the 70 year gap -- no contact with each other at all.

"I gave up, and I think in a way he sort of gave up, too, but we never forgot."

Everything changed after Frank went in to get a surgery this year. He told the story of his long-lost brother to his nurse. She connected him with another worker at the hospital, Gabriele Albrecht -- a former private investigator. She was able to find this long-lost connection, and she reached John's son.

"She said he was in the hospital having surgery -- cancer -- and he wanted to see his brother because he was afraid when he went for that surgery, that it would be the last time, he would not wake up from it."

Then came the call.

"Uncle Frank kept on saying, 'Junior? Junior?' And then my dad said, 'Is this Francis?'"

They hung up after talking for an hour and planned to meet face to face.

"He was asleep and I went over to him, and I woke him up gently, and we embraced and I cried then, too," John said.

Each of them discovered similarities about each other. They're both quiet people. They both wrap a rubber band around their wallet: a trait they each picked up over the past 70 years.

Frank lost his wife in 2006. He's been living alone since then and said he was feeling lonely, but this one call rejuvenated him.

"I've got a family, a whole family," he said.

They don't know how long it will take to make up for lost time, but they are sure of one thing, "I love him, and I figure that is one thing in life that I wanted to accomplish: to be with him again."