Day 259: Albatross

I am interested in my family history. I have a book about my family history from my great aunt. She gave one to each of us nieces and nephews.

My great aunt passed away, the last of her generation to die, in 2004. Not long after that, my uncle died, the first of his generation to die.  As sad as their deaths were, it seemed orderly and correct. It seemed right and natural that everyone in the previous generation would pass away before the next generation. It was hard to lose them both, but I remember realizing that both of them lived long and healthy lives. They had loving families and many successes to be proud of.

Looking at the big book of my maternal genealogy, I realized that nobody among my dozens of cousins in my generation had died at an early age. It was fortunate, I thought. We are lucky. We are such a lucky family. These thoughts are all erased. It seems so naive now.

Looking farther back in my family tree, I see long lines of children, sometimes a dozen or more in one family. In some cases, a name might be repeated: two Johns or Williams in a single family. Back in the 1800s, it was not unusual to lose a child. I heard on a podcast recently that every member of Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet had lost a child. It was not unusual. It makes it no better. It makes it no better, no easier to take.

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