Friday, November 26, 2010

A Most Memorable Year

In every family, perhaps every few generations, there is a year that stands out. For my Carlisle ancestors certainly 1862 was their year. Two sons and their step-mother off to war, their house burned down and most of their possession lost. A daughter forced to take a job she did not want and that set her on a very interesting course for the rest of her life.

Years such as these, though they have a deep impact of the family, are not necessarily talked about and future generations may have no idea how greatly they impacted the family.

For my family the year was 1984. The year started out well. Plans were being made for my wedding. We had decided that after the wedding I would leave my job and become a full time mother. On the day that I gave my notice the company announced layoffs that would have included my position so we considered ourselves lucky that it worked into our plans.

The wedding was a small affair and went well despite despite the winter weather. We had decided to postpone our honeymoon and we quietly began our life as a blended family.

Less than a week later we received the shocking news that my uncle had died while working away from home. His date of death was also my brother and sister's birthday. Not the 18th birthday every girl looks forward to. My husband's introduction to my father was at the calling hours. Not the introduction any of us had envisioned. My grandfather was battling cancer and unable to attend. I feel that the loss of his youngest son sped his decline.

My first husband did not take the news of my remarriage well and started a custody battle that would drag on for years and profoundly affect all of us. The next few months were spent with lawyers. We also were dealing with combining two families and very different parenting styles. My grandfather and his wife needed my help and I often found myself torn between helping them and preparing for court. My daughter became a favorite of the residents of the nursing home but was terrified every time we visited.

There was more good news on the horizon however. My sister graduated from high school and was making plans for college. My brother and his fiance were planning their wedding. It would be a traditional wedding with many attendants and a large reception. I feel I let them down with my legal problem taking up my time.

Just three days before the wedding my grandfather lost his battle with cancer. We held a hurried funeral, followed by the rehearsal dinner. While his death did overshadow the wedding somewhat, it was a beautiful ceremony and we did have a good time at the reception. My brother and new sister left on their honeymoon.

Tragedy would quickly strike again. A week to the day after my grandfather's death, his wife and caretaker died. She had not been obviously ill and I believe that she died of a broken heart. I missed the funeral because I was in court, my brother was on his honeymoon, and my father had returned to Texas so the only one left to represent the family was my sister.

The rest of the year was, thankfully, uneventful.

1984 was was both the best of years and the worst of years.

This was written for the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: There's One in Every Family, to be hosted at Creative Gene. Jasia is looking for 100 posts for this edition - let's no let her down!

Thanks for the poster fM!


PalmsRV said...

I have the feeling that your family welcomed 1985 with relief.


Barbara Poole said...

It is always nice to read about your family, even in it's darkest hours because you write so beautifully. Thanks Apple for another glimpse, and I bet to you, 1984 seemed like yesterday.

Susan Clark said...

Great take on the 100th COG. There are years that are imprinted on our lives and you've described yours eloquently.

Greta Koehl said...

This post brings back so many memories - we had so many of them - years that could make or break a family. A very moving post.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...


The two weddings really were bright spots in the year and gave us something positive to focus on.

Jasia said...

Another great post from Apple! I really enjoy reading about your family and I'm so happy that you've chosen to attend the COG family reunion. Thank you dear friend!

J.M. said...

A heavy year indeed. Great post.

FranE said...

Enjoyed your post. You apparently are a very strong person.
Thanks for sharing.