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Honoring Loss in a Family Tree
Hope Blooms Editor
A month or so ago, our family attended a large reunion of Rachael (my wife)’s relatives. Her grandparents are still living, born in the 1930s and in their mid 80s. One night after the army of little ones went to bed, those grandparents told the story of their family going back into the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Rachael’s grandmother understood a big portion of her history intimately. She knew her great grandmother until she was 11, hearing stories about homesteading and exploring new parts of the United States that few, if any, had seen.
Several members of the family helped compile documents to aid the family history. One of those documents was created by my father-in-law. It showed the family tree across five generations, down through my own kids. In it, we saw the shadows of both joy and suffering, the many kids that each family was blessed with and the ones who they lost young.
As I looked at my own generation, I scanned through all the children, my own and my nieces and nephews. One entry stopped my breath, made my chest constrict. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have five living children, all listed with their names and birthdates. But another name appeared in that line, a name that makes every heart ache in that room.
Those parents lost a child between their first and second living children. It was a boy, and they named him Jaron. And even though he wasn’t at the family reunion, even though none of us got to take him on hikes or watch him jump off the high rock into the lake where we were staying, he was honored as a family member in that tree.
It may not seem like a lot, but in that moment, I was proud that this family, the one that had accepted me as one of their own even if we don’t share blood, celebrated a child that was miscarried.
5/28/2023 02:36:52 pm
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