Friday, August 27, 2010

Forgiveness

I signed up for an account with ancestry.com a few months ago.  I was inspired by watching this show.  It has been fun to peruse records actually in my ancestors' own handwriting and to see lists of their names on the ships records when they immigrated to the U.S.  It has also been amazing to receive messages from others searching the same records looking for the same people I am.

The skeleton was discovered as I responded to one of these message.  She was searching in one of my dad's lines.  I went to her site to see what she had.  She had a photo I've never seen and a story.  It was a family history written about each member of the family I was searching in.  It was written by a neice of the next generation, so I have a hard time refuting the information there.  It was wonderful to read of these people's lines until I got to my own.  It became very heavy and hard to believe.  It has weighed heavy ever since.

Now, you have to understand, my dad's side, although easy to research and find the names and dates, has always been a bit tight-lipped and almost overly sensitive about their relationships with others.  So, finding background has been somewhat difficult.

This skeleton is only a few generations back, and I really don't think my dad even knows the story.  Although it explains a lot of prior generations behaviors and my dad's memories of them, I don't think I could bring myself to share these things with my dad.  I also see the miracle that forgiveness can be.  Destructive behaviors ended as the Hamm family came into the Church.  I only wish memories could be erased, but these adversities make us into who we are.

I have written to my dad asking for further information that he might have first hand, but so far, I've heard nothing.  It might just be that he doesn't have any.  I would love to have the entire thing refuted and backed with some kind of great story of heroism, but the truth of the matter is that we're all human and must take the goods with the bads.

In a strange way, I'm so glad to know what caused the pain, anger and secretiveness in this branch of my family tree.  I hope there is forgiveness for this family member, but more than that, I hope that I can learn to love each ancestor I run across for all their good and bad decisions that helped form my family into what it is.

2 comments:

vaxhacker said...

*hugs*

As distressing as finding painful things in family relations can be, especially when they hit close to home, people aren't perfect and there's lots of good and bad mixed into every family line, especially as you go farther back in time.

It would be good to keep finding information out, though, to back up or counter the one source you have. I wouldn't be too hasty to either believe or disbelieve one single source who you can't directly talk to, but it gives you something to investigate further.

And I think it's wonderful to remember that forgiveness is indeed a powerful and liberating thing, and also that even painful experiences in a person's or family's past can be a catalyst for positive response and growing stronger as individuals and families.

Lillian Angelovic said...

I agree that no matter what bad choices and actions may have been part of the lives of our ancestors, there were also amazingly good choices which have helped bring us to where we are today. And it certainly gives thought to what we are doing to influence the world around us now.

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