I had always thought, without really thinking at all, that four generations might take me back to at least the 1800s. But four generations isn’t really that long. The years between my Oma’s birth and my daughter’s birth only number 73. The number of years that all four of us were alive at the same time is only seven. When I look at it in these terms our lives really are just a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of time.
When I started on this series it was important for me to tell the stories without judgement. In writing the first one, judgement showed up almost immediately, so I scrapped it and started again. Judgement showed up again. It was then I decided to write this series in the third person, as if I was a journalist just interested in facts. And it worked! Writing in the third person allowed me to write from an emotionally detached place.
I don’t think we should live in the past, but we mustn’t pass up the opportunity to understand what made our ancestors the way they were. Often through understanding, comes forgiveness and forgiveness frees us to live with joy. Obviously, these posts are just snippets of stories and glimpses into moments of time. But there is enough there to see themes that have threaded their way through the generations, like: anger, strength, leaving home at a young age, with at least three of us, moving far enough away from home that we couldn’t just drop by for coffee!
As for missing details, not sharing everything was also an intentional decision. As I stated up front, I wanted to seek out permission before publishing each post. As you can imagine, perhaps even from your own family stories, there are things too painful to speak outside of one’s family, there are things that feel shameful to us, even if they wouldn’t be viewed as such and maybe in the long run it’s for the best. Maybe our lessons are best learned and understood through living them, rather than through the experiences of others. Whatever the case, we the three remaining, know those missing details and they help us to understand, forgive, grow and make us strong.
Future Generations of Women – a picture of 100 years from now
I am a dreamer with a vivid imagination, (I really can’t help it!) so I thought it might be fun to take a look ahead at one amazing woman who will be born in my family by exploring a moment in time on one single day in the future.
It is the year 2114. My 15-year-old, great, great, great, great-granddaughter, perhaps named after one of us, has just had a devastating experience. She’s not sure how to handle it, who she should tell, if she should tell anyone, or if anyone would even understand.
She remembers her mother’s trunk that holds the recorded history of the women in her family, a tradition that was continued by her great, great, great-grandmother, Michaela with stories contributed by her daughters and their daughters after them. She begins to read it starting with my posts, and at first she is disappointed because of the lack of details – she has so many questions!
As she continues to read the stories written by generations of her ancestors, she begins to see patterns. She sees where these women struggled, where they screwed up, where they picked up the pieces and created a better future. They are far from perfect, but they seem to possess incredible resilience and strength. They become so alive to her that she feels she can reach out and touch them.
She marvels at the lives of these women. Each generation seems to have discerned the things that are bad and the things that are good and have created a new reality – one that reflects their values and vision for them and their daughters. “I wonder if they knew they were doing that,” she ponders.
Suddenly she knows that she too, will overcome. She opens her journal and writes… “Today, something horrible has happened to me but I will find help and will figure it out, I’m going to be OK…”
~ HUMP DAY CHRONICLES ~