"Visiting My Dead Dad on Google Street View"

In the natural order of things, children bury their parents. It is normal, but it is so very hard, too.

Bill Frankel and his siblings moved their elderly parents out of their house and into an assisted living facility. This was necessary because they couldn't take care of themselves anymore. 4 months later, Frankel's father died.

Then he found his father on Google Street View. He writes at Narrative.ly:

After he died, my parents’ house, which my siblings and I had been preparing for sale, was put on the market. When the listing came online, my brother called me, his voice shaking, and asked me to take a look at the listing. When I logged on, I understood why he sounded so shook up.

Google Street View, a Google Maps feature that allows visitors to see panoramic street-level views of a property, had captured Dad working in the yard – apparently oblivious that a Google car had just passed him. There he was in his white shirt, white shorts, white shoes with white socks.

There he was, totally in his element. How we wished he were still there.

At the time, I told the story to everyone, and posted on social media about his Google Street View encounter. And I frequently visited him online – logging on to introduce him to his grandchildren, but mainly just to make sure he was still there.

Later, Google Street View updated the phoot. For Frankel, it was like losing his father all over again:

That fact was more shocking than finding my father there in the first place, some three years earlier. I’m not an emotional person, but this revelation really overwhelmed me with sadness, especially as I broke the news to my wife and my siblings.

As my oldest sister said, being able to check in on Dad in the yard (even virtually) helped mitigate the guilt we felt for taking him out of his element in the first place. It was as if he spent the past few years “at home.”

Only now does his loss feel real, for all of us.

-via Laughing Squid

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