This project has become so much more than a thesis project. It is a part of my life, a gift to my dad, to my family. In all modesty I don't pretend that this is a work of art. It a Wordpress site filled with images, audio, and written stories that capture my family. To people who view it, it may be just that. For me it is so much more. It is a preservation of history and memory in the making. It captures the child my father was and the man he is. It is a tangible symbol of the bond he and I share. It is a tribute to my mother and my siblings. It is a reflection on family and childhood. It is happiness and it is sadness. I laughed out loud as I worked and I cried more times than I'd like to admit. I cried for my father and his advancing age. I cried thinking about how we have more years behind us than we do ahead of us. I cried for my mom. The ache of missing her that I feel inside of me every day was so strong as I wrote and found pictures of her and of us. I cried for the loss of carefree childhood days that can't be captured again and for the wedges that have developed between some of my siblings and myself. I cried because I long for my family...that's all I really ever want. I hope that this project means something to them. I hope it reminds them of who we are. I hope it gives them some happiness.
As I begin to see my project take shape and feel my thesis journey slowly, but surely, starting to dwindle down, I begin to reflect. During my meetings with Dr. Zamora there have been some interesting points brought up through our conversation that I didn't really think about as I was creating. Now, as I sit, waiting for a video to upload to YouTube, I can ponder some of these thoughts. At the forefront is the creation of my parallel stories. Each pair of stories contains a memory from my dad's life taken from the interview sessions we conducted, and then a story from my own life that was triggered from his story. It was a joy and true pleasure to create all of these stories. They were personal and heart felt. However, actually writing these stories was interesting. As expected, when creating my own pieces, they simply flowed out of me. You see, much like my father, I've always had a very vivid memory. I can recall memories from random moments in my life as well as important ones. I can also relive through visualization. I often see the moment replay in my mind. Sometimes I even feel like I remember conversations and even clothing people wore. My sister tells me I'm crazy and that I can't possibly remember these things, but in my gut and heart, I know I am accurate. It's just like when I asked my dad how he knows he's accurate all these years later, he said he just does. The memories are his life. Therefore, I had a much easier time writing my own stories. As I wrote, I relived them. I could see the events happen before my eyes. It was like yesterday. But then came the hard part...creating my dad's stories. Sure I had his interviews which were very detailed, and some of these stories I even heard many times in my life. I knew them. But telling someone else's truth was hard for me. At stake was an honest portrayal of someone else's life. Was I getting everything accurate? Did I get the dialogue correct? What if my details were off or something seemed embellished? I worried about this. Listening to the interviews was not enough. I would play and replay, jotting furiously to capture everything he said. Phones calls with follow up interviews with my dad took place for clarification or to gather more details. I also felt that having a natural flow was harder. There were points in his stories that needed a lot more cleaning up then my own did. I think that was due to a combination of wanting to include every detail and wording things the way he would say them instead of altering details for my reader. Wanting to be direct to a fault got in the way of clarity. In the end, I feel the side by side stories compliment one another. I only hope that they read as equals.