Daddy, where were you born? Russia, Poland? Daddy, who was in grandma's family? What was her mother's name? I try to ask questions quickly, before it's too late. I ask because there are no records, or anyone else left, to answer. Even his birthday is unknown. My grandmother picked April 15th because she remembered it was somewhere around Passover.

I never needed to know before. There was too much to do. Kids to raise, lunches to pack, floors to clean. Now it hits me; my father shares the name of a famous Lubavitcher Rebbe. Was it a coincidence? Was it chosen without a second thought, in passing, while running from Poland to France, arriving in Israel before its independence but alive after the war? Or was it a tribute to a belief system shed while escaping. By the time they reached the Promised Land my grandparents were not observant, but every Friday, until his death, my grandfather said prayers.

Daddy, where are you from? I prod gently, a brilliant mind that is quickly fading, being eaten by a disease called Alzheimer's. An amazing physician my father was, cutting into newborn's hearts to save them, inserting a tiny balloon into tinier veins to open them up, turn a blue baby pink. Years before there were lasers, before machines did this for you, he perfected this. There are families that send him cards every year on the exact date of their child's birth to thank him, again and again, but he cannot remember what he was. Now he asks about my children – what are they doing, how is their summer? He knows I named the baby after my mom. Then the questions start again… what are they doing, how is their summer.

Daddy, what were your grandparent's names? Suddenly, unexpectedly, my mother died and I need to know. Daddy, where are you from. I get a town, Lodz, but there will not be anything more. This mind, a leader in his field, cannot recall what he had for breakfast, or where I live. He asks if I am coming to my mother's unveiling, November 33. He laughs at a joke I tell and I think, he gets it. Then he asks again, will I be there November 33. He's renting a limo. He says, I visited your mom. There was a letter on her grave held down by a stone. He says, I recognized your writing. He knows my hand, the slant of a pen, but does not remember having this conversation twice this morning, and once late last night.

He wants to know again, about my kids. He yells at me for a fight we never had. He doesn't take my calls for weeks. I cannot visit. My dad is angry over what never was. His friends tell me he hates me. Then he phones, out of the blue. He bought me a painting. Where do I live?

Daddy, where am I from?