Most of my genealogy research has been focused on my mother’s family. But my father was hospitalized last week and has already been moved to a hospice-like unit in the hospital, so I’m thinking a lot about his life, his passion for trains and restoring old MGs, and his family going back generations, such as the great-grandparents and other relatives that I never knew from Maine to Florida (truly an East Coast family).

Besides the anticipatory grief that I already feel, which is difficult enough, I feel like there are so many more family stories that I will never hear. I’ve been looking at old photos (to create a scrapbook), and I found a faded note written in crayon to my father (at what age I cannot recall), which reminded me how watchful and protective I felt towards my parents:

Even in the hospital room with my now 85-year-old father, I still feel myself being overly vigilant, as if I could protect him from what’s coming.

Our hospital visits aren’t all tears and worry, however. We’ve had some laughs with my sister and cousin. We reminisced, and at some point I plan to write an essay about one of my Dad’s stories.

Looking back on some happy memories …

Fun with Dad, 1970s
My Dad, the avid reader, deep in thought
My college graduation, 1994
Labor Day picnic, 2017
Greeting Dad during my wedding ceremony, 2018
Posing with my Dad and siblings at my wedding reception

As we clean out my Dad’s apartment, I’ve found more treasures — old family photos and home movies. Some of these photos I don’t recall having ever seen and some I haven’t seen in years. Discovering these cherished mementos of our family makes me tearful but also grateful that we shared all those moments, many of which were captured by my Dad on film.

Author: polishamericangirl

I'm a librarian and amateur genealogist who runs a women's memoir book club. I'm working on a memoir project about my own family.

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