I moved away from home late in life. I knew I needed the distance or I would suffocate. I needed a chance to see who I might be without all of “Them”. I recall planning it. I pinpointed three or four places I thought I would apply for jobs and see which came up with the best options. I interviewed by phone. I got a job and I moved. It’s been 16 or 17 years now.
Prior to moving my mother gave me all the genealogy work she had accumulated and boxes of old photos. Not the immediate family albums, though, those were on a shelf in the living room and she and my father looked at them frequently. The ones with pictures of me, I did not get even after they passed. The people who emptied the house either have them or relocated them to dumpsters. While I was not fond of my immediate family a large part of my life was invested in them. They are after all part of the genealogy. We have a connection.
This past weekend I was working on some of the hints at Ancestry.com where I put the tree and every couple of years spend time on it. You hit a wall, you get busy with work, you let it go for a while. Around the holidays, it always seems to rise up and demand some attention. So I attend to it. I added a bunch of scanned images to the profiles at various levels. Then I started to go through the hints.
There are more divorce and obituary records available now than there were before. Recent records that while they do not include a lot of specifics and documents, do include dates and some links to memorials on other sites. This holiday I discovered that some not at all distant relatives had died, a first cousin and his wife. One in 2010 and one in 2012. They were only slightly older than I was. I remembered how my cousin used to come to our family picnics. He always made me laugh. He was a good guy.
It made me sad that I did not know at the time. No one called. No one emailed. I did not see it on Facebook. I am not an avid reader of the obituaries back home. Perhaps I should be. Would I have made the trip for a funeral? Probably not. So what right do I have being sad? They were related. I did know them. I did like them. I had enjoyed family picnics with them. I had been at their wedding. I guess it is a sadness slightly removed. And it was years ago, so why be sad now? The statue of limitations on some crimes starts only when the crime is remembered by the victim. I say that it is the same for grief, it is a fresh grief the first time you hear it even if the actual death was years earlier. Perhaps not as “fresh” as with someone you are with at the time of their death, but still new in the heart regardless of time.
My emotions, my rules.
#grief #sadness #genealogy