I own my own house out in the country. I am single, elderly and have spent most of the profits from my hobby business since 2011 to care for my elderly father and my older sister.
My dad died in 2014 after 3 years of chronic heart failure. My older sister passed from COVID pneumonia in November 2020. She lost all her cognitive ability from COVID. Her brain had gone too long without oxygen before she called the ambulance. I was not allowed to visit her at the hospital. I had to make the decision to move her from ICU to hospice.
All my craft shows were shut down for two years during the pandemic. My government bonus checks were used to travel to my deceased sister’s apartment and back. She never married and had no children.
When I was 4 years old, my dad was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. I never got a definitive diagnosis, but I believe he had borderline personality disorder. Uncontrolled rage sometimes erupted in my dad without warning. He might be in the middle of a sentence when it happened. My dad was cheerful and jovial to friends and relatives. As soon as my family was alone a darker side of him surfaced. I often hid in my bedroom with the door closed. I shared the room with my sister, who unfortunately got my dad’s personality.
I did not allow my children to be with my dad because of his temper.
My mom died of Ovarian Cancer when I was 18. She had been sick for three years. Three surgeries, two rounds of chemo and radiation. I was blessed with my mom’s personality. She was a school teacher. She was kind and thoughtful. It was tragic to lose her. She died at age 49.
My sister and dad both lived on Social Security, as do I.
I was in a car accident which permanently disabled me. My car insurance paid $15,000 of my $25,000 in medical bills. Nothing else. I was 40 years old.
One day my dad called me and admitted to abusing me as a child. He apologized and asked me what he could do to make amends. I told him he couldn’t change how badly his abuse had affected me. Then I asked him to help my sister work on the family history as his amends to me.
I have suffered from bad health most of my life. I have made bad decisions choosing romantic partners and was in a few abusive relationships. Once the relationship was toxic and I left, twice I had to get a protective order because my life was threatened. I have been living in poverty for many years because it is preferable to being in a relationship where I am not valued.
I have tools today. I have grown. I am hopeful I will no longer attract those people. Today I have healthy relationships with friends who care about me.
I have 8 first cousins that live out of state. My sister and dad found 30-40 second and third cousins that we didn’t previously have contact with. They were sent the family history packets.
My dad was the youngest of 5. He had two brothers and two sisters. My dad’s oldest sister was 20 when he was born. My dad was the last survivor of a generation.
When my sister found the second cousins, they often had boxes of photos that were unidentified. These photos were sent to my dad, who knew who the people in the photos were.
However, I found many packets my dad made that I believe were never mailed. Some of the cousins sent small donations to help. He spent the donated money on ink and paper to make the booklets. He often ran out of money for postage. My dad was living on $700 a month.
I know my family will enjoy seeing the photos and stories of our ancestors. This is their legacy to share. I am currently updating the addresses and organizing the information with a cover letter from me.
I have just begun this project. I am facing the same financial limitations. I don’t have enough money for postage. Mailing this large book to my family members will be expensive. I won’t be able to do it without help. A few of my family are able to donate, but many cannot. It would be a special gift to be able to share this legacy. It is my wish to preserve it for future generations.
I believe discovering where we come from through family stories gives valuable insight into ourselves. I hope you see the value in preserving and distributing this Family Genealogy book. It was the most valuable contribution of my dad’s life. Writing seemed to help him release and relax. My dad had many talents. He never realized his full potential while he was alive due to his mental health struggles.
I am grateful to the many friends and family that gave me emotional support throughout the years. Through your generous donations, I will be able to give them a valuable gift. Thank you for your time and support.