I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about some things and just wanted to share something I've learned. It's so easy to romanticize people's lives and stories and how you think their lives may have been like. It's part of the desire to research sometimes I guess. But you gotta be careful. Too much assuming and playing things up in your head can lead to a huge crash of reality that is hard to recover from. I went into this journey knowing fully I may come across things in ...my family that are hard to accept. (Slavery, murder, illegitimate children, etc) And I've been OK with the things I've learned. Up until now. Over the past month, I've learned some things about my family that has shaken me up a bit. I guess it's more because I've been led to believe one thing about my family and am finding out there have been many lies and secrets about how our family really is. And it has effected all the way down to someone very close. *sigh* I guess I'm trying to say I understand when people say it's hard for them to accept some things in their family's past. I used to say, well it happened, it's in the past, accept and move on. I'm finding it's not that easy. I know I will eventually be able to accept these things and move on. Just not today. So please be prepared when doing your research. It's not always going to be flowers and rainbows. I've always been a romantic at heart and it hurts to see the cold hard truth.
So I have been unintentionally becoming the keeper of family secrets. While my grandma was alive, I found out that her parents got pregnant out of wedlock and had to move out of state to get married and have my grandma to hide what happened. I learned this from the records I came across. They kept this fact a secret to the point of writing family records with their marriage record being a year before it actually was. And celebrated their anniversaries accordingly. I do not know if my grandma ever knew and I never wanted to tell her just in case. She passed away in 2015, so now I can publicly post about it. But that's not all.
With everything I keep coming across, I am going to have to start writing a journal of just secrets, only to be viewed after my death. Just to ensure all living relatives will be long gone by then. This new information I have learned has led me to want to ask more questions to find out how deep this goes, but I can't ask anything without possibly revealing some truths and dredging up old pain. So these questions may never be answered.
The biggest and hardest truth I had to face was about my grandma. She was not the kind lady I once knew her to be. That is a hard statement to make. I know there are people who believe you shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but truth is truth, and you can't ignore it. I love my grandma with all my heart and always will. But learning more about her has really been hard. Granted we have wonderful moments of great memories, but just like finding out someone you love had a secret life, it's hard finding out some truths about my grandma's actions in the past. Like I stated, no one is perfect. But when you think someone is one way and realized you were lied to about how they were and who they were.....
I know I'm cycling. What it comes down to, no one is perfect. And you can't expect that from people. Hiding things from those closest to you doesn't protect people. It only hurts them when they find out they have been lied to. And we are going through some of this right now with other family. Keeping secrets, not facing truths, hiding things, pretending to be perfect. It hasn't helped anyone. All it has done is caused pain. Facing truths and working through them are the only way to heal and make things better. I feel that deep in my heart. I've watched for years people not talk things out or face things, and it has almost torn them apart and hurt those around them. Is it easy? By all means, NO! But it is worth the risk if makes a better relationship.
Just random thoughts going on in my head right now as the holidays are approaching. It used to be a time where I looked forward to getting together with all my family. Now it is a time I dread. It breaks my heart. Maybe one day, even though none of us are perfect and will continue to make mistakes, we can work through things and enjoy time with each other again.