Not from me but from my father. He sent us an email today speaking about the military history of the family which is a little odd since it isn’t something he has brought up many times before. But the main point of the message was to talk about a cousin of his who was a couple of years older and who he knew fairly well growing up. The story was that this cousin had enlisted in the Army after high school and died in action in Germany late in the war and was buried somewhere in the Netherlands.
So it seems Dad was watching Memorial Day ceremonies and wondering about his cousin and left with an open ended question wondering about how to get more information about him. It is interesting because this is not something that he really talked about much when we were growing up or even as we entered early adulthood. But, now, I guess plugging holes from his childhood about people he knew is important.
The last couple of years have not been kind to him. Age has essentially taken his sight robbing him of the things he most enjoyed which included reading and driving. As a college professor, he was used to having people listen to him as he lectured. Now, there is nobody to listen. I know he wants to hear from all of us and gets upset when the email’s or phone calls lag. Without sounding mean, you do sometimes reap what you sow. By that, I mean that neither of my parents were the type to openly express feelings towards us as we were growing up so we all kind of grew up just thinking we had to deal with things on our own. It is not that we don’t want to talk to him. It is just that we were raised to be independent so learning how to check in is just going to take some time.
But I could also read through his message and knew it was really asking one of us to help even though he couldn’t bring himself to do that. As the resident genealogist in the family, I figured it was on me. Took about 30 minutes on Ancestry and other sites but I found a link to the cemetery in the Netherlands and a link to his cousin’s page on that site which I provided along with some other information about the unit he was attached to.
While I’ve found it interesting to go back and look this stuff up, it has also left me feeling sorry for him which I’m sure is not something he wants or would appreciate. But I can’t help it. Life can be cruel towards the end when it takes away so much and leaves you with nothing to do but think about the past. And to see him suddenly now want to connect the dots about family members he never really mentioned before just feels a bit off. But I think I made him happy for a little while and that is a good thing.