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When he remarried when I was 14 years old to a woman only 9 years older than me who spent a lot of time subtly sabotaging our relationship, we were never the same. Then, though many years younger than my dad, his wife died last December, quite unexpectedly. In that moment, our relationship moved from eternal darkness to dawn.
As his life went on, the retired Army recruiter, his son and wife, plopped themselves down in a house near a major military base in the Midwest. He made his home there for over 20 years. A rambling house, of good bones, but which had little attention in the past few years as my dad became more and more challenged to finish projects, it had become too much for him to care for. Now, he's moving out of his home and to a new adventure in a seniors community here near me.
My sister and I helped for a week organizing him in the first step to prepare and in the meantime, I located photos he hadn't seen in forty years. Photos he'd forgotten about. Photos no one else living had seen. I got my first glimpse into the childhood of my dad and his brothers. Into my grandmother's relationship with her first family's children. Into what my grandpa looked like with hair. No one knew him then. I don't think they ever owned their own camera, strictly based on the fact there are so few photos. I have a lot of work to do.
What a treasure.