The Ground We Lived On documents the loving relationship between journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and her father, Adrian Leon LeBlanc, in the last months of his life. Using recordings she made of her father, namesake and inspiration from his hospital bed in the family living room, The Ground We Lived On is an ode to the ordinary ways we continue loving even as we are letting go.
In January 2003, Adrian Leon LeBlanc was 85 years old and the father of four. He was in the final stages of lung cancer and had just entered hospice care. He spent his days in his house in Leominster, Massachusetts, a working-class town near Boston, in the company of his family. During this time, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc regularly drove in from her home in New York City to visit her father.
Each time she visited, Adrian Nicole taped her conversations with her father. She wanted to preserve a record of their relationship and capture her father’s voice. Adrian Leon LeBlanc had been a labor activist and World War II veteran; as such, he had always been outspoken on behalf of others’ interests but was reluctant to talk about himself and his personal feelings. Still, he welcomed his daughter’s recorder, believing that documenting the last months of his life might help other families who were going through similar experiences.
The Ground We Lived On is a story of loving and losing a parent and the record of a father’s final gift to his daughter: helping her to conceive of a world without him.
Premiered November 13, 2006, on All Things Considered.
This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.