Recover recent file

Closed out of LO to restart computer for updates, when I went back into LO, clicked to open a recent document file, & got a message that the file does not exist. If it doesn’t exist, how can it be in my recent files list? How can this be? Where might it be hiding? Is there a way to recover it?

Use your operating system file manager to search for the file.
The recent file list is merely a list of the files you have used recently; if a file on the list is moved, renamed or deleted outside of LO the recent file list is not changed.

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Unfortunately, what you describe (updated OS and found documents lost) has been proved possible by Microsoft recently. Please see answer by @ve3oat to this question. No idea if that’s your case though - the problematic update in that case has been retracted and replaced - but still, there might be a problem even in fixed update, or in another update… (you even didn’t mention your OS).