Family Tragedies

Marta has one brother and one sister, Elise, living under the same roof with her.  She and Elise are opposite in personality, but love one another deeply.  Elise brings a tragic element to the story, and what happens to her is the cause of Marta’s determination to toughen her own daughter, Hildemara.

I was an adult before I knew anything about my grandmother’s family, and it took pleading – actually, nagging – to get her to write her life story.  She consolidated ninety-plus years into fourteen pages.

My grandmother had three brothers and two sisters.  I know very little about what happened to them, not even all their names, but “a seventh died at the age of three”.  Grandma said “a foolish old man” gave her youngest sister cherries and beer “because she always acted so cute after drinking”.  Her little sister died the next morning.  I can only imagine what the family went through during the hours she suffered.  “She was the only one of us who had Father’s white skin and dark hair.”

I have one brother and I can’t imagine losing him – though I came very close during the Vietnam War when he was captured in Hue during the Tet Offensive.  Thankfully, though badly wounded, he escaped, returned home and married his high school sweetheart. They have two grown children and are now retired and living in the woods of Northern California.  And we have the blessing of email.

Things to ponder:

How many siblings do your mother and father have?

Do you know their stories?

Have you ever lost a sibling? 

How did that loss impact your family?