A few days ago, a random thought made me wonder how many days have gone by since I left school. Google is a friend for answering random questions. 8000+ days since I walked out of school for the last time. Still thinking about days instead of years, I looked up how many days since I began to deal with grief.
Nearly 8500 days without my Dad.
I had a Father for around 6000 days. The majority of those 6000 days he did not share his thoughts about long gone relatives close or distant.
As far as he was concerned, there were no other relatives outside our little pocket of family in Glasgow’s East End.
Researching my family tree brings up a lot of questions about Dad’s feelings of family. With what I have uncovered to date about Dad’s Sherry family, and in particular his Dad I believe my Father mostly dealt with grief in private. In a closed off area only he entered.
A Brief Moment Of Grief?
During those 6000 days of having a Dad, in the late 1980s my brother hired a genealogy company to look into our family history. Most of the family tree he received was wrong. Only a few details of close relatives were correct.
The genealogy company sent a copy of my Grandfather’s birth certificate. My brother remembers Dad holding the certificate and for a few seconds appeared to be overcome with emotion. But he quickly regained his composure.
The inaccurate family tree did not spark recollections of his Father, Aunts and Uncles. But the only piece of information that animated his curiosity was Grandad’s sister Rose Ann Sherry (1881- 1882)
In the days since we last saw our Dad, we do not really know why Rose Ann’s existence animated him to go and see his Mother Jane O’Donnell (1904-1991) and ask about her.
My brother accompanied Dad to Gran’s house. Gran Sherry warned both of them: “ Do not go looking into things that do not concern you.”
And there ended the family research for several thousand days.
Family History & Grief
I am not ashamed to admit to you that during the days without Dad my grief for him can be overpowering. Grief is a feeling that I don’t believe a person can be cured of it. It is always there.
And there is something that pops up every day that reminds me of the days I had a Dad.
I do find researching my family tree a way to deal with grief. Once, someone asked me if looking at death certificates, visiting cemeteries and looking at photos of family make a depressing hobby. I told him that is not so.
Researching my family tree helps me to cope with grief. It helps me to feel close to my Father in these days without him. I learn more about him and his relatives. And I can tell those who live in these days all about them.
In the thousands of days ahead I know that grief never goes away. Researching my family history keeps Dad relevant and be a part of these days.
In memory, in photos, records and stories.