Monday, May 21, 2012

Part 10: Feeling the Answer

 Entry 10: Feeling the Answer

The death of baby James cut through me deeply. There was the initial stab of grief but then, a constant throbbing of pain continued, a kind of connection with Mary Ann that I had not anticipated when I set out on my genealogical journey. I felt one with her and the answer to the question that had plagued me for several months was coursing through my veins, the fate of Mary Ann Symons and Mary Jane Davey. I now knew the answer. Without ever searching for the paper trail, their untimely deaths surged through the strands of my DNA. Perhaps it had always been there, and I had been unwilling to admit the awful truth. Despite the intense “knowing” within me, I had to see the records. 
Admittedly my hands were shaking as I searched for their names in the death registry, but this was not an anxious shake for I already knew the answer. This was a mournful shaking.
When their names appeared, within days of each other in 1868, I was not surprised, yet I still felt the stark reality of my own emptiness. These two girls had been a part of my life and curiosity for so long; and now 143 years later, I profoundly felt their absence. This served to intensify my connection with Mary Ann. I reached out to her through the years, past the generations, to connect with and to console her. She had lost two daughters within four days of each other. And she had been seven months pregnant with Charles Symons.
It is difficult to convey the nexus of emotion I now felt. My grief paired with concern and even amazement that she had been able to continue caring for herself and other children. In the backdrop of these trials, she had to ultimately make the decision to leave her small world in Cornwall and cross the ocean, saying good-bye to her mother and sister. How had she found this inner strength?
Suddenly I felt fortunate; and the colliding of events and decisions almost overwhelmed me. Death had swept through Liskeard. In a house on Higher Lux Street, two daughters were taken. Two children remained. One of the spared was my great great grandmother. And Mary Ann was far along in a pregnancy that would welcome the grandfather of a treasured part of my young life into the world. These are the inexplicable accidents of the past that interconnect in such a way to form us and even allow our existence. Is this by design?  In some mysterious fashion, like the colors of a kaleidoscope, these events, sorrows, joys, and wrenching decisions, had woven fate into our ancestral portrait of today.
Why had the writer of the paper not entered a death date for these girls, or for that matter, for Baby James? The only person, besides Mary Ann to have been old enough to remember all of this was this woman, my great great grandmother, Harriett Symons Richards.

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