Weaving the Thread of History

On a whim, curious about my maternal side of the family, I decided to do some online research to see what I could find out about my great grandmother. During this process a synchronicity occurred that showed me I was on the right path. I discovered a website called Find a Grave on which I found my great grandmother’s name, and my grandmother’s. I noticed a couple of discrepancies and emailed address of the person that was maintaining that part of the website. This person turned out to be my 2nd cousin once removed, who also just happened to be into family history and genealogy. Not only that he is a photographer and an expert at scanning photos. He was as excited to “meet” me as I was him and we have been emailing and working together ever since. I feel the thread of life weaving me to my ancestors, and I especially like what I have learned about my grandmothers and my great great grandmothers; all strong women, pioneer women that crossed the prairie in wagon trains to settle in Oregon and Washington.

My mother’s sister was kind enough to visit Mom’s while I was visiting there recently and the three of us sorted photos and stories. I took as many notes as I could. Mom and my aunt are the only remaining two of their generation of my maternal side of the family so I am thankful I got as many stories and photos as I did, and I hope I can do them justice.

My dad’s recent death has also re inspired me and to preserve old photos and papers that I found in my mother’s attic. Otherwise what is going to happen to this part of the family history? Who is going to tell the story? If I don’t take on this as a project there is a story that won’t be written and part of my family will be lost. I feel Dad’s spirit guiding me. He, as his father before him, did a good job with his side of the family. Now I want to do the same for my mother.

My personal story is enriched by the knowledge of my lineage and through the process of finding the threads of my past I understand myself in a deeper way and with a newer, wiser perspective on life.

Unlikely Friendship

I never would have imagined my lifeline would be given me by my ex husband’s new wife but life is puzzling that way. She and I met shortly after I had escaped my husband and gotten a divorce. My children were motherless, as he had retained custody of two of our kids and severed contact with me.

She and I didn’t hit it off right away. My role as the ex wife and “cult’ member, (for lack of a better word) and she as the new wife didn’t lend us many warm and fuzzy feelings, and the dynamics of the situation were quite intense and emotional.She did take on my children, and for that I am eternally grateful, and for several years of marriage seemed to have it together as far as I could tell. It and it wasn’t until she also left him that she and I began to bond and she understood why I had fled, as her marriage was as chaotic and abusive as mine. We began to write letters and remained pen pals for years. We have since visited in person with each other and stay connected to this day.

The turning point for my salvation, my lifeline, was when Pamela sent me a book about battered women and suggested that I attend a support group. I read that book and my life was profoundly changed. I realized that I was not alone and that there were so many other women that had suffered as I had. It was such a relief to put a name on the crime of battering. The healing journey took years and years but that was a first step and I wouldn’t have taken if it weren’t for Pamela.