As I review my blog, I notice that I have been rather self – reflexive lately. It is as if I am obsessed with my past and even with myself. Does that mean I am narcissistic? I really don’t know, but what I do know is that I have been thinking quite a bit about my own life and about the lives of the relatives who came and went before me. I only have access to my paternal grandparents’ history; my mother was adopted. At some point, I will do some research and try to find out whether I can learn a bit more about my mother’s genealogy, but for now I will focus on my father’s genealogy.
I have more pictures of my father’s ancestors than I have of my sister, my partner, or even of my daughter and grandchildren. I don’t know why, but I think that at some point I inherited those pictures. They are lovely pictures—sepia toned and in perfect condition. I have pored over these pictures as if my life depended on naming the people in them.
My work on Ancestry.com has helped me identify some of the people represented in them, but many of the people represented in the photographs I cannot identify. That is okay because I enjoy looking at the physical characteristics that I recognize as familial. In other words, the people in the pictures look very much like people I have loved. One woman who I think might be my paternal grandfather’s mother stands regal and beautiful; one man looks so much like my grandfather that I am absolutely certain that he was my great-grandfather.
I suspect that the baby represented in so many pictures I have is my paternal grandfather. Even as a baby he had physical traits around the face that I recognize. I can’t be certain, of course, that this baby was my grandfather, but I like the idea enough that I choose to believe it. What is it about having these pictures the bruise was so much joy? I think it is about my feeling that I have no real family. I have my sister, but no one else who I really care about. My father and I don’t really get along. My mother is so needy that I cannot bear to be around her; I cannot meet her needs so I feel too inadequate when I’m around her.
So my sister and I are the only family we both have. We look to each other for emotional support. We look to each other for friendship. We look to each other for a kind of familiar love. It has not always been this way; when we were children we fought tooth and nail. However, our current friendship that sustains us both. Without other family, we need to each other.