Where We Come From: the Influence of Our History, Either Immediate or Long-Gone


“I am a part of all I have read.” —John Kieran

As we approached the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I am reminded of family. Our theme, “Where We Come From: the Influence of Our History, Either Immediate or Long-Gone” seems less about external events and more about my personal history, at least as I read it today.

We received news on Thursday night of the death of a family member under tragic circumstances. As each of us wrestles with this news in our own way, I struggle with two things: what do I say to my sister-in-law, whose mother is lost; and why does this news hit me, personally, so hard? I have never met the woman and yet I mourn her.

I mourn for her family and for the aftermath of her death. Again, I am reminded that our family history affects each of us, daily, in subtle yet profound ways we may not even be aware of in our waking lives.

I don’t talk much publicly about being an Anorexia survivor. But in the wake of this week’s stressful events, I was reminded of my own fragility. I like to think it’s the angel of my sister-in-law’s mother, brushing my shoulder and reminding me of all the abundance for which I have to be grateful. We have so much, particularly if we are reading this on the internet.

Our history influences us – trauma and healing – and we can choose to focus on the one or the other. They are parallel realities. If you are in trauma today, I urge you to seek help. Ask a counselor, call a friend, speak to a minister. Don’t suffer in silence. Life is so ephemeral, and we are, after all, all in this together. If history teaches us anything, it is that silence is poison. It is only by embracing our past and understanding it can we move past it. Those who ignore history, after all, are doomed to repeat it.

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10 responses

    • Thank you, Kimberley! I’m glad you stopped by and hope you have a wonderful week.

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Tragedy can tear us apart, and yet it also can unify us like nothing else in human experience. As you wisely note, sharing is a sure way to healing, however painful it may be. I’m notorious for bottling emotion, as is my life partner. We unfortunately were schooled by example from beloved family members, some of whom have survived to learn from their own mistakes and teach us differently through a change in behavior. Let’s hope that each effort to reach out will find peaceful fruition.

  2. Thank you, Darla! I know what you mean, my family of origin does not handle death well. My husband’s family is much better with it. I appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Beautiful post and wonderful tribute. You’re so eloquent. Grieving is hard on the body ,mind and soul and know that you’re never alone, just reach out to the book chicks, we’re all here for you :)

    • Thanks, Selena! I appreciate it. I agree, it’s physically grueling. I miss him. ~hugs~

    • Thank you, Kay! It’s been a rough week. I’m glad you stopped by to comment; thanks!