Just as trauma is passed on from one generation to the next, so is resilience. I’m fascinated by the idea that we’re all shaped in some way by ancestors we’ll never know. That our relatives’ biology, learned behaviors and experiences trickle down through the generations and impact who we are today.
I had a similar experience. Was angry with my grandmother for her addiction, then I saw a picture of her in college, so young. I dug a little and deduced her Big T. I wore her ring during Kavanaugh's hearings and whenever survivors fight to be heard and believed. I am not a woo-woo person but I swear she is there with me. Thanks, Shannon. You are a powerful writer.
This happened to me but with my mother. I sat and imagined myself living her life and dealing with what she dealt with and it gave me so much empathy. I was able to see why she is the way she is and the tremendous burden of living that way. This didn't give us a magic perfect relationship (far from it!) but it took away a lot of my resentment and anger.
This made me realize how much of my grandmother I don’t know either. I remember her as someone who drank excessively and was bitter. I do know her childhood sweetheart and eventual husband died in Italy in August 1944. My mother was born in October of that year. My mother and grandmother never got along. I suspect it was because my mother reminded her of the loss of her first husband.
My grandmother went on to marry a Naval officer and had two more children. They lived all over the world. My mom’s stepdad adopted her and doted on her. He loved her dearly and my grandfather was an amazing man. I know more about him than I do my grandmother. I wish I knew more about her.