It’s done. Well. It’s done for now.
I’ll put chunks of it up for you to read for the parts that are okay, once it starts to wander – in true NaNo unedited style – I will spare you.
My drive for writing this particular story is that I’m so invested in the history of my family – to me, anything resembling theology isn’t the point, it’s just the means to get me the setting I need. I have spent so much time collecting names and dates – but I wanted to humanize the stories. So, things like the names and births and deaths that you’ve read so far – that happened, that’s all real – I just don’t know the stories behind them, but I can imagine…
I’ve learned a lot, just from taking the time to do some simple math.
Like I didn’t realize that my great great grandmother Ellen was 15 when she married.
Or that another spent a span of 23 years more often pregnant than not.
Or that my great great grandmother Abby had her first daughter die while she was pregnant with her second, and that her husband died 16 days before she delivered her fourth daughter.
I’ve always known of these women in my family because their photos were on our walls, and most of my mom’s side of the family is buried in 2 cemeteries within a couple of miles of each other – I’ve always known these names.
DNA passes from mother to daughter and from father to son. There’s a lot of to-do about genetic DNA testing to find halotypes to match family genealogies. Which this has really brought to my attention that I am the last female in my mom’s family – the DNA of several women terminates with me – I am the end of a branch of the family started in 1866 with the birth of my great great grandma Abby. Things end with me. The feeling of being in a matriarchal family, filled with strong women – I am the last – It’s the thing that makes me second guess not having any more children.
I wanted to get to know these stories better. To find the humanity. It was going well and then …
My great great grandma Ellen had a boy named Sheridan – I knew he died young, but I did the math – and none of this was fun anymore. Not for now. Sheridan was 7 months old when he died. Which didn’t seem like anything … I kind of already knew it … he was a baby, he died … okay … lots of babies died back then. It didn’t hit me … It wasn’t personal … I couldn’t relate …
But … now … Alex is 7 months old. I know what Alex does – I know how he crawls and laughs and smiles at me – I know what his voice sounds like – I know how he eats – How he pulls up, how he wants to see every. thing. I. am. doing. I know how he’s daily more of a little person – his own little person. And now I know that little Sheridan mattered. He wasn’t just another number – he was his own little person too – and …
I have no words. I got what I was looking for – I found the humanity – I’ll do more with the story at some point, but for now I’ve done what I set out to do, and I need to set it aside – I think I got more than I bargained for. And it kind of hurts.
I think this is why I am a little hesitant to delve to deeply into my family history, but by the same token, I want to know it.
My fathers brother died when he was 18mths old. I know this is why my gran didn’t bond with my dad. It is better to know, but somehow harder. When I was little we lost my 20mth old cousin, he drowned. I look at Amy and I think of him and I wonder how my aunt survived it.
I would be very interested to read the story when it is completed.
Congratulations on being done.
Sometimes, a really good story does leave you feeling sad or hopeful or yearning for more. We all have stories in our past and in our families and in our lives, don’t we? I’m glad you got to know more about your family – it is a good thing.
I’ve loved the parts that I’ve read so far. I can feel the history and love within it; love that you poured out through your heart.
It is interesting to put together isn’t it? In context, all those numbers, all those events create the people that we ultimately become.
Thanks for sharing.
I seriously could not be more proud.
Hydes Like Us
lovely Dawn. That’s the only word I have. Just lovely.
Its amazing that you know about your family up to your great great grandmother. I wish more of my family’s stories were ‘preserved’. It would have been interesting because they migrated from China, to Indonesian and then finally settled in Malaysia.
Your blog has very interesting reading on it!
Much More Than A Mom
Wow – how incredibly sad. Isn’t it amazing how our perspectives change once we’re mothers? Nothing’s ever the same again.
I bet the fact that it affected you so much made the writing even better. If that’s any consolation.
I am proud that you were able to learn about your family and it so true that having our own children really puts things in perspective.
I loved reading what you’ve posted so far, and knowing that it was all based on your own family’s truth makes it even better.
I know what you mean about the wee one. Makes your breath catch.
I am not worthy! You are my idol! I gave up in week two. I just can’t do both the Nanos at the same time, I guess.
I’m not going to comment on the seven month old, or I will cry.
I was researching a little of my family history, and in one day I found ancestors all the way back to the mid-17oo’s. The family that I found had 10 children; only 3 of them lived past 3 years. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have to bury 7 children, but I know it wasn’t uncommon. It just makes me all the more grateful that we have the resources available to us today that we don’t have to worry about that near as much as our ancestors did.
Wow, do I appreciate another blogger discussing genealogy! I had three posts dedicated to the subject for NaBlo.
Humanizing it is so important, otherwise it is so dry.
(Passed Away) in infancy. | Kaiser Mommy
[…] It was Sheridan that affected me most. I knew he died young, but I did the math – and none of this was fun anymore. Not for now. Sheridan was 7 months old when he (passed away). Which didn’t seem like anything … I kind of already knew it … he was a baby, he (passed away) … okay … lots of babies died back then. It didn’t hit me … It wasn’t personal … I couldn’t relate … […]
Still trying to decorate my family tree.