On this day, June 10th, what would have been my mother’s 69th birthday had she not passed away suddenly last October, I am conflicted.
Do I have the right to write about family history yet again?
And yet without the past, it’s difficult to write about the future. They are connected, by both visible and invisible lines, threads of beliefs and behaviors, attitudes and antagonisms, odd coincidences and strangely fortunate happenings. Particularly in my family. Continue Reading
Two days ago I celebrated Thanksgiving Day, or as we call it, Turkey Day, with my relatives in the US. It was the first time for me to do so in over 20 years.
The myths about the holiday are well-known, so I won’t waste time relating them here (most Americans are happy to go on pretending the “Pilgrim Fathers” started this when really it’s just an excuse for a four-day weekend of stuffing yourself, watching football, and shopping).
In our case, it was the first holiday since my mother passed away. The next two will be even harder. But the oft-trite is oft-true: it was as if the empty chair at the long table was filled with her presence. This year was different.
A passing of the family torch. Dinner at my sister’s house, dessert with her in-laws. Boardgames with aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Family stories with grandpa. Skype with the grandkids overseas. Most of us drove seven or eight hours roundtrip just to spend one day together.
The grieving process continues. So does life. You can’t pick your relatives, but in some case you get real lucky.
It has been said that men write history but women live it.
In my family, it’s also been the women who were the keepers of family history, the tellers of tales and stories. The saver of old photographs and documents.
Which is why I have this photograph of four generations of women who brought four different families into our lineage. Thank you, Aunt Linda, for saving it. Since they are gone, I have an obligation to tell their stories. Who are they? Continue Reading