Stick some feels in it. Laying awake at night, imagining how wonderful things will be… and then crying, then getting comfort somehow.
I dunno – I think the distance in time is difficult.
Your character is in 2010. The relative is dead. The sought after puzzle piece is in the 1930s.
That’s an 80 year gap, a dead person, and no link to the living.
Perhaps somebody who knew the relative…. wise old neighbor type of character?
It’s still circumstance though. I can see the trouble you’re having. Hm.