There is Healing in Discovering our Individual Family Histories
So many times I have heard, “Why should I care about people that came before me and have done nothing for me or contributed anything to my life?”.
Ok, I know I am a Genealogist, I love History so obviously you know where I am going to go with this, of course I am going to say, yes you should care! But I get why some people may feel this way, your mindset is you want to focus on the now, and your life, what came before you does not affect you now and will not affect your future. Well just hear me out for a moment...
When we look into our family history we are finding out more than names, dates, and places, you are actually discovering lives, sometimes even answers as to why maybe certain events may have occurred the way they did in your own life. It may even help you understand the people that you call family a little more and see them in a different way. My paternal family had a tough childhood, my paternal grandmother passed when my father was only 10 years old and soon after was taken away from his father to be raised by one of the strongest women I proudly called Abuela Iris.
My father had many struggles that despite him being a hard working, dedicated father to his family at times it reflected in his parenting which made me question many times, why? What happened? I saw moments of pain and emotional struggle that were hard for me to understand. I dug in to my grandparents lives, hoping to find answers or a glimpse to what may have happened. I found a history filled with so many many more struggles, another broken home, another son who lost his mother and sister too soon. I cried for my grandfather who passed when I was 6 years old and never got to know, whom I know had made mistakes in his life but I really felt for that young man who had two very significant losses early in his life. Then I cried for my Dad, for the little boy that at 6 years old would take his shoe shining kit and on his own would take “la lancha de cataño” to San Juan, so he could earn money to buy medicine for his mother and later lost her. I had never stopped to really think about how these events affected and shaped my Dad and then my own life.
Now having the history in front of me, I thought about it and felt it, for the first time in my life I was able to empathize with my father in a way I had not thought of and appreciate so much more what he has done for his family, for us. I got all that for just looking into one piece of my family history. As the past and the story of my family unfolded in front of me I also understood more about me, and it started me on a path of healing that was beautifully unexpected. Can you imagine what you can get if you allow yourself just a piece of yours?