Day 8: Friesland and home of my parents

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So, yesterday was one of the best days I have had in a long time. We picked up Nance, Tajlline and Nance’s boyfriend, Juergen and headed off to Friesland.  To get to Friesland, you have to cross the Afsluitdijk  A massive manmade structure designed to keep the ocean at bay.

After that, we pulled into Bolsward, a larger town where my parents met and were married.

Alex and I were able to go to visit cousins in Friesland.  But, even more cathartic was the opportunity to visit my dad’s grave.

My dad passed away in February, 2003.  In May of 2004, my mom and I went to Holland to inter my dad’s ashes in the gravesite that held both of his parents.

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Welcome to Fifhuis – Literal translation is Five houses,  This is where my dad’s family lived.

From there, we went to the cemetery.

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This is the crypt where my grandparents and dad lay.

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After Alex, my cousins Tjalline and Nance, along with Nance’s boyfriend Juergen and I arrived at the cemetery, we started to look at the various relations who have been laid to rest here.  When I came to my dad’s marker, I stopped and waited for everyone to give me a few minutes.

Sadness washed over me.  I missed my father so much at that moment.  So, I started to talk to him.  I told him about Alex and how much he would have liked him.  I told him about my life (very abridged version). I told him about Mom.

I rambled on for what seemed like forever but, was actually only about 5 minutes.  And I felt better.  I was still sad but, not so much so that I couldn’t smile at the surroundings.  He was home.

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One of my dad’s brothers and his wife
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Distant relations
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Another distant relative
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Another of my dad’s brothers and his brother’s wife
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The church and cemetery where they are resting

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After the cemetery, we met the family that now lived in my uncle’s house.  They gave us a grand tour.  I didn’t take any pictures out of respect of their privacy.

From there, we headed back to my cousin Wout’s place.  But, we had to make one more stop:

Approximately 10 minute walk from Fifhuis is a small bridge designed to keep cattle from crossing.  It was on this very spot over 64 years ago that my Dad’s father was killed.

This spot gave me shivers.  I was standing on family history!

I found out later, from Wout, that there is going to be a ceremony next May to commemorate this event and Alex and I have been invited to attend!  You can bet your bottom dollar that we will be there. *Update:  Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, we will not be attending this event.  *sigh

Moving on, we drove back to my cousin Wout’s place and had a visit with more relatives.

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Published by Al Zylstra

a somewhat erudite wannabe writer with aspirations of not putting people to sleep with my prose....

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