I am totally blocked. It's not really clear who this is for. His siblings, the one co-worker who's still alive? His life proceeded in disjoint episodes, and so little followed from one to the next. I was one of them. My mother was perhaps three.
His sister and I spent two days at his bedside, talking while he gasped, apparently unconscious. She's an ancestry.com fiend. She located both his ex-wives almost trivially; figured out that the four-year-old son who drowned had been in Santa Monica, not New York; and so on.
While procrastinating I have poked around enough to be moderately certain that one of my great-great-great-grandfathers died about 10 mines north of Granolaton, in 1852 -- about a year after he'd arrived from Ireland. And my grandmother's aunt, from whom she'd been estranged for forever? Buried in the same Catholic cemetery in the New York suburbs. Oh, and the patents on early (I am not making this up) toilet bowls -- joint between a great-great-grandfather and a great-great-uncle. It feels like there's a lot more on line than there was the last time I tried, probably two years ago.
I haven't joined Ancestry yet. It's horribly tempting. But then I hit the: I can only ever know half, right? wall.
I've also been thinking about 23 and me. Beaker sent in samples a few years ago (why yes, he is a delta f 508!). Are there any third cousins I don't know about? Is there a wide enough sweep yet? Both my mother's parents were only children, and ended up cut off from their cousins. Again, not to mention the brick wall on the other side.
The contrast with the death of my mother has been hard. Then near strangers were overcome with sympathy -- it was my mother, after all. And all that word carries. But when I tell people my foster father died? What must that mean to me? No one can guess. (Of course, I don't really know myself.) The condolences are minimal. I change the subject.
Miss T. is the same age now as I was when I went to live with Ray. That's overwhelming.
I have not cried over Ray. (I think his sister disapproved.) But I have been vague and spacey, and been getting choked up over some painfully obvious pop culture artifacts: the end of, and the epilogue to, Knuffle Bunny Free. A Music Together song about how the people who take care of you (they are scrupulous not to limit that to parents -- I think that may be the precise element that makes the cheer so sinister) will come back, "because they always do." Good Christ, I am getting choked up even running the lyrics through my head now.