One of my main motivations for writing is to pass on the stories of my life, and through this medium connect the generations and my family in a broader sense.
Being somewhat removed from my family in Australia and not seeing them on a regular basis, Zach and Sam haven’t really had the opportunity to connect with their extended family and develop any sort of ongoing relationship.
Although my sister Glenda and her husband Max have in many ways filled the void of Zach and Sam not having grandparents on my side of the family, but given that they live such a long way away and it’s difficult to keep connected in a meaningful way.
If I take a look historically at my family, and I dare say with many families, it becomes a matter of out of sight, and out of mind sort of scenario…
Case in point, a distant relative from Australia (Kade) reached out to me recently…the great grandson of my mum’s brother Bob. Kade is working on a family tree, and so I put him in touch with my eldest brother Gary who worked extensively on his father’s family tree (my mum was married twice), but with some connections into our family tree.
When I was growing up mum would speak rarely of her siblings and having not met them during my childhood, of I did I was too young to remember. Sadly, without a solid connection they all vanished with her passing, like a wisp of smoke into the ether…
Such an incredible shame that it only takes one generation and the love and connectedness of siblings can be shattered irretrievably…
It’s unfortunate but it takes a lot of work for everyone involved to stay in touch on a more than cursory basis. And that’s if you live locally! Imagine being halfway around the world.
As I’ve gotten older I’m able to see the fragility of our lives and connections across generations. It seems universal that there are disagreements, arguments, misunderstanding, jealousies, or just plain fallings outs amongst siblings or family members over the years, often for reasons lost to memory.
The pity is that these are often solidified over time with all parties stuck in their mindsets and bias, leaving little room for reconciliation or forgiveness.
I’m sure it was exactly the same for my Grand father when his family shipped him off to Australia with a one way ticket back in the 1890’s, although by the sounds of it was upon their request… 😉
As a parent I can’t imagine not having any contact with my kids, no ability to see them nor keep in touch. Clearly there was a lot more to the story than meets the eye, but again with his passing way back in 1958 all opportunity was lost to get to the bottom of this family mystery.
I guess that’s why I started writing about my life so that Zach and Sam would have some connectedness to my stories and to pass onto their families in the future.
This legacy is somewhat limited to my point of view and to the things that I’ve done, places I’ve traveled and experiences that I’ve shared and not my collective family story.
Given that I’ve lived overseas for more than half my life I’ve lost touch with the intricacies of my siblings lives, and so impossible to gather and write about.
As you know some of the best stories come from the everyday, not necessarily from the big and adventurous, and so not being in touch with them or sharing the day to day with them first hand then the stories and folklore is completely lost.
I’ve always had a fascination with history, and more so in the past few years with my family history.
I remember sitting spellbound when my mum would tell stories in the kitchen growing up, the ever present blue haze of cigarette smoke filling the air. Although these moments of story telling were few and far between, they were definitely colorful and told in a way that I could picture them in my minds eye.
As for my dad, he was also largely estranged from his siblings as well, and with both his parents passing before I was born there was no stories handed down from his parents generation at all. I realize I’m not alone in that situation, but it’s sad that I don’t know much about my grandparents on either side.
Consequently I only had contact with a couple of my cousins growing up, who, by I’ve been able to reconnect with via my blog and instagram accounts over the past few years. And although I haven’t actually spent time with them since the occasional visit during my childhood it’s sort of nice to know that you have family out there.
I was fortunate in dad’s final six months I finally got him to share some stories of his early life. They were both funny and rich, but in the end far too few. The mere tip of the iceberg unfortunately, and now lost forever…
I suppose I’ve made a good start, by documenting our many travels, plus many of my adventures growing up in Australia. Although Zach and Sam may not read nor appreciate these stories today it’s my legacy to them and a way of sharing my love for them and our lives together.
Collecting your family stories and sharing them, in whatever medium you choose is clearly not for everybody, nor every family. My guess is that these stories will appreciate with time, and hopefully entertain the generations to come.
No time like the present to get started…just sayin! 🙂
Until next week!