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John Palcewski's Journal

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Revisionist History
forioscribe







When I visited my mother a few weeks before she died, her husband Bully, my stepfather, turned over to me a pile of old photos that had been in a box in the attic for years. He said he guessed they were “Your mom’s people.”

Since she was in a terminal stage of dementia and recognized no one and could not speak, I couldn’t ask her who they were, what were their names, what was their history.

She’d told me earlier that a great-great-grandfather (she wasn’t sure how many greats) named Jack Joyce was convicted of sheep stealing in Ireland during the Great Famine, and transported to a penal colony in Australia. After serving his sentence he married, and had children, a few of whom migrated to America to work on the railroad.






Now these are my father’s ancestors, of whom I know nothing because he refused to talk about any of them. He died, leaving little to no history.

It might be useful to just make up some biographies for these nameless people, a sort of historical revisionism. Make them interesting. They’d be folks who I’d be drawn to, and who would naturally be drawn to me.






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Just looking at the old photos of the two different families you are able to note the different social class between your father and your mother. And looking at the past photos of your mother, where she has various close up, I thought the path she has passed, from a solar expression to the dementia and in the middle the photo of the years passed with your father: in that "more dark" photo of your mother she was just a member of your father's family and no more a Joyce, like the people on the last photos I saw on this post. It's so sad to follow the visual-mental-physical transformation of your mom, viewing your family album.

Maestro, you fully understand this sad history, and transformation is indeed the word to describe my mother's journey. Again, I thank you.

As a girl she was surrounded by an adoring, nurturing family and then came the slow descent into the darkness.

Now, her second husband, Bully, refused to put her into a nursing home when she fell into dementia, he instead took care of her himself. He changed her diapers, he cleaned her soiled clothing and sheets, he fed her, he bathed her, until the end. He died not too long afterward.

I'm grateful that I was able to tell him, in my last visit, how much I loved and admired him for what he was doing for my mom.

Bully never talked about "love," but instead quietly expressed it so eloquently by his unselfish actions.


There is always time to express LOVE, there isn't a special age nor particular location or seasons to say: "I love you", but above all it isn't important to say it with word.

[quote]Bully never talked about "love," but instead quietly expressed it so eloquently by his unselfish actions.[/quote]

Just a glance, just a jesture, just a caress or, as I read and translated on the pages of your "novel", like Bully, who gave his life, his deep care to your mom; this is more than the simple "I love you" (today so inflated!).

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