I have always envied people who have a large extended family nearby … aunts, uncles, cousins … available for instant parties, holiday gatherings, or just a lazy cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon.
I am a first generation Canadian and I grew up with only a small circle of family. We didn’t know my mother’s family in Holland, and on my father’s side, we knew virtually nothing. I’ve always felt that gap in my life.
Both my parents are gone now and I feel the big hole that is left behind as family history is lost with the passing of each generation. Since I am now at the ‘front of the line’, I feel a strong responsibility to capture as much of our family story as I can for the generations that will be left behind me.
For two years, I have been documenting stories, photos, and our small family trees. Often it’s been very frustrating because I have so many questions and no one to answer them … but then I’d gain a small piece of information. It would cause me a ridiculous amount of joy and I’d feel energized again.
That’s how I feel today. On Friday, my husband and I will be going to Rome to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. While we are there, we have a side trip planned to the Cosenza, Calabria area where my father grew up. I’m excited to finally have an opportunity to experience some of his past.
I have this irrational belief – hope? – that while I’m there, I will somehow discover some small new piece of the puzzle that is my father’s family.