Today, we are so grateful to be able to share a beautiful and touching story from Stephanie of @lightuntolighthomeschool
“I was 30 years old and my parents were getting a divorce. It hurt. The image of my “perfect” family of origin was shattering before my eyes. I had so many questions and I wanted to understand why things were the way they were. But to discover that I had to go back to my parents’ childhood and then to my grandparents and their childhood and back and back. On one line I traced back trauma, depression, suicide, legal problems, addiction and abuse in every generation until I got to Sweden in the 1850s. Probate records, newspaper articles, state hospital records, and divorce filings laid out a tragic picture among many people. These are things people suffer immense shame in this life over and it was hidden away, stuffed to try to suffocate it but it often does the opposite – proliferating in darkness to perpetuate in the next generation. The thing was, I felt drawn to discovering this dysfunction because it was the missing piece that was helping everything else make sense. That alcoholic and abusive grandfather who deserted his family was now a neglected little boy, getting picked up by future church leader Marion Hanks for Sunday School while his parents slept in. He became a ripped apart 13 year old, entering through a window into his locked house to find his father’s body a day after he committed suicide. Knowing their stories of personal trauma doesn’t condone their destructive actions or erase personal accountability, but it has created in me empathy and love for these people that grows the more I learn about them. Each generation I looked at had pain and likely feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness but now they had someone who had the space and perspective to offer some grace, that wanted to aid in their healing even just through wanting to understand them.
I obsess over pictures of my ancestors – I stare into their eyes, searching for who they are and what they are feeling and the spiritual message I get back from them consistently is, “thank you for remembering me”. They are so grateful. I know they are healing and I believe strongly it goes both ways – for us and them, facilitated especially through our own emotional progress and temple worship which brings us both to our Savior and His atoning Grace. I believe we truly can help heal each other across the veil.
Through this experience of unearthing the pain it has led to more resiliency and peace in me. I’ve seen stories of redemption and great progress. I know that destructive patterns CAN be broken! That grandfather, on the verge of taking his own life just like his father, decides he will be different and he does – becoming sober in his 60s. That leads to receiving his temple blessings again and reconciliation with many members of his family.
Understanding the true macro-view of sealings and families means that my parents’ broken marriage does not distance me from God. I am a part of GOD’s family and that will never change. We are all one interconnected web of families with our common tie as His children.
For me, family history is about healing emotionally and spiritually so each generation is more resilient than the last. It is about addressing the unspoken specter of inter-generational trauma that affects not only you, but your first cousins and possibly many second, third cousins and likely more. I’ve been tremendously blessed by connecting with cousins I would never know otherwise through Familysearch and sharing stories and conversations of healing. It is about realizing that we are ALL connected, not only spiritually but in the most real, physical and emotional sense. We have each other, on this side of the veil and the other.”
🧡Stephanie // @lightuntolighthomeschool
Have you seen patterns in your family lines?