I was browsing Facebook the other day, and some person I had “friended” (for Mafia Wars no doubt. Yeah, I played it for a while) knew somebody who had lost their six year old daughter after tonsil surgery. They posted a video that they had done for her “Celebration of Life,” and I watched it. Being a “family historian” (it’s only been a couple of years. That “title” carries too much weight to use it already, but I don’t know what else to say), while I was watching it (even though I don’t really know anybody involved, I was moved) I started thinking about my ancestors and how they themselves lost children. I know specifically of two, and suspect a few others, children my Great Grandparents lost in infancy or soon after. Up until fairly recently, this was not an uncommon occurrence (not to the surprise of genealogists). I have a few ancestors who were named after their dead siblings. A hundred years ago, parents lost their young children all the time (assuming a large statistical population). Farther back in history you go, the worse it gets. How did they do it? Nowadays the loss of a young child is a tragedy. In earlier generations, it was almost expected. How did they get past it? I’m emotionally moved by [essentially] a total strangers loss. What would I do if it were my own? It really makes you think.
February 25, 2011