Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Family secrets

Once again today I have been staggered by the revelation of family secrets and tragedies. I came home to three funerals two of them for people I know. Even the closest of their family members have only recently found some fairly startling facts about the early life of their relation.
Tragedy happens in most people's lives and it's interesting to note that often the person most affected chooses not to talk about it. I suppose it's the same in my family. It causes pain to disclose that your father committed suicide as mine did and even more to tell your children that actually it was a relief at the time for my brother and myself. And yet only after my brother died did I find that his family had never been told most of it. We tend to stick to the bare bones, fearing that somehow, awful things detract from us, even things that happened long before we were born.
To find that your long dead uncle had died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp stuns you into a sense of unreality in some cases. This then is brought into stark reality on finding a poem written by his mother on hearing of her son's death. I have read the poem. It is poignant and beautiful but it was placed in a family Bible and left there for 50 years without being read.
We tell people to talk about their griefs when possible. But some people are simply unable to do this. Who knows what their lives might have been if the family had shared it's secrets.
It would be good to talk.

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