Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Following in Mama's footsteps

Mama and me (the forehead in the foreground)

I'm working on the family history my late mother began when I was a girl. I enjoy reading her handwritten notes and the questions she would ask herself in the margin, questions like "Is this Papa's brother?"
In her final days, she was so concerned about what would happen to all her records. I assured her I would take care of them, even though the idea seemed overwhelming. I've always enjoyed genealogy, but I focused on collecting stories while Mama kept up with the charts and documents.

But I'm finding that the deeper I dig in the records, the more stories I'm discovering. Oftentimes the paper records tell stories very different from the oral history that has been passed down.  

I am deeply moved by the challenges that were overcome by my ancestors, the sacrifices that were made and their difficult choices that must have seemed insurmountable in the moment. 

I am looking at my family's lives from a perspective many generations removed. I wonder what my descendants will think of me and my story, and the choices I've made. 

I wonder what they will learn from my life.