Birth and other perils

grandparents borrowed from husband

grandparents borrowed from husband

What if I had never been born, never had an opportunity to experience human life?  An odd question, but one that comes to me when I reflect on the day that my mother handed me an envelope containing an eight-by-ten glossy photo of a good-looking man she identified as “my first husband.” I was speechless.

As it turned out her first husband wasn’t in her life for long.  He was a serviceman she eloped with when she was nineteen. Four months later my grandmother had the marriage annulled. I have no idea on what grounds, and I was too shocked to ask.

For me, my grandmother’s efforts to annul my mom’s marriage is a constant source of gratitude. Once my thoughts turn to my grandmother, I realize I have other generations to thank for my existence. There are all those unknown ancestors who preceded my grandparents.  Go back ten generations and you find that more than one thousand ancestors had to exist to create the person you are today. One freak elopement or change along this path and you wouldn’t be here.

At a conference I attended this past weekend, Rev. Dr. Kenji Akahoshi spoke about the expression of gratitude as a deep spiritual experience. One aspect of gratitude involves looking back on the conditions that brought us into existence and that have influenced our lives. Many people I’ve met– family, friends, teachers, colleagues, bosses — have affected my values, skills, and attitudes.  I owe them all a debt of gratitude, but none more than grandma for removing the interloper from my mother’s life until she could meet my dad.

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About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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3 Responses to Birth and other perils

  1. Evelyn says:

    My paternal grandfather and his brother, my uncle, were planning to leave England to seek their fortunes across one sea or another. They were miners and the destination was to be either the diamond mines of South Africa or the coal mines of Pennsylvania. They flipped a coin, and it came up for Pennsylvania where my grandfather met my grandmother who gave birth to my father and you know the rest. And I am forever grateful.

  2. JanO says:

    Re individuals who affected my “values/skills/attitudes.” Of course, my family/teachers/friends. But, none later on more influential than those with whom I worked at Bellevue S.D. You, Ann, being one of them. Thanks.

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