Of frailty and of loss
If there is any group of people in the world who ought to understand human frailty, it’s the genealogical community.
We see it all the time.
In the records of our ancestors who struggled mightily.
In the mistakes they made.
In their missteps, their errors of judgment, their failings.
In everything they ever did that we know they wished they hadn’t.
In the demons they confronted, and fought, and sometimes lost to.
And we hope we understand how very real those struggles were, how very hard they tried.
Because we see it in ourselves.
In our own daily lives.
In the mistakes we have made.
Our missteps, our errors of judgment, our failings.
In everything we have ever done that we wish we hadn’t.
In the demons we confront, and fight, and sometimes lose to.
Sometimes we see the origins of our own struggles in the records of our ancestors. The torments of the great grand uncle, brother of my great granddfather, who died in the Texas State Asylum may well help explain my generation’s battles with depression and mental illness.
Battles we have sometimes won, emerging into the light after long journeys in the darkness.
Battles we have sometimes lost, as we lost my sweet cousin Meredith to a darkness where she could see no light.
Battles we continue to fight, all of us, every human being, every single day.
Battles that we sometimes lose.
Rest in peace, Robin Williams. Your fight is over.
And the rest of us will try to soldier on.