Changing of the guard

I have bragged about my good stock. Nothing I have anything to do with, but just my luck. My father’s side, the Italians, are some sturdy folk. My gram made it to 98 and a half, and was pretty razor sharp up until the last several years.

My father is 86 and the second youngest of seven children, and he is still around (thankfully). All of his siblings were still around until only recently, and now the shift has begun. My oldest aunt died within the last year, and now we received news that another of my aunts has gone. It’s not unexpected, they are all in their 80s and 90s–but it is a blow.

The tide is changing; the old guard is moving on.

I feel a need to get the stories from my dad before they are lost. What don’t I know? In the last few months his health has been precarious and I have spent more time with him because of this. I heard stories I’d never heard before, and I realize it’s a dance of asking the right questions, him being in the right mood or right frame of mind to open up. When you’re young, you don’t know anything about your parents. If they are around when you mature, you begin to realize that your own story is intrinsically connected to theirs. You have their hands, their eyes, their skin color, their mannerisms, the sound of their voice even, their quirks. To know them is to know yourself.

My mother died too young and I feel that broken connection, the loss of not getting to know her as a woman beyond being my mother. I don’t want to lose this opportunity with my father. I’m mature enough to want to go there with him.

 

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