I will state right up front, this week’s blog may sound like I am rambling, my apologies. Over the past year, I have made numerous trips to the area my mother grew up in Alabama to help take care of a younger cousin with cancer. I was supposed to be there taking care of him this week but the Lord called him home early Saturday morning and I just returned home late last night from the funeral.
As the family genealogist, I have seen the number of people in each branch who have died young from repetitive diseases. One of my branches saw several from 3-4 generations die from stomach cancer, the oldest about 70 and the youngest about 54. My mother was one of ten children, eight died before their 66th birthday. One was Leukemia, one was sclerosis/lung cancer, two were massive heart attacks (my mother was one), and the other four were from cancer of one sort or another. My paternal grandfather suffered late in life with a pocket forming at the bottom of the esophagus resulting in all food being pureed like baby food. His youngest half-sister suffered from the same ailment and one of my brothers and nephews has similar issues.
As we begin to see a pattern, do we encourage our family members to get tested early while the disease might be caught? We do not want to violate their privacy or sound like we are using a bully pulpit, but I think we should encourage them. My cousin who just passed away worked closely for the same small company and was close with the owner for over 35 years. Paul, the owner, was almost in tears as he encouraged my deceased cousin’s youngest brother to give up smoking since we all watched Marvin die from cancer that may have been brought on by his decades of smoking.
Have you seen patterns while researching your family? Have you shared your findings with them?
I warned you there will be some rambling.
Findagrave does not know the exact location of the small country cemetery where Marvin was buried. I will be taking care of this since I dropped GPS pins at his grave and his wife’s grave. Do you help with this sort of information? I recently wrote about volunteering when visiting cemeteries.
Remember, my mother was one of ten kids meaning I have 45 cousins and 3 siblings. I was surprised how many of the ones I have seen in recent months who have no idea that there were ten kids and much of anything about the family. I do not bore them but I do try to answer their questions. One of my 1st Cousins, once removed, who was not raised by her biological father and did not even know her dad was not her biological father, who I have gotten to know in recent years, kept asking me at the funeral who everyone was. Problem was, the vast majority attending were not family but friends of Marvin’s and his family. He was one of those unique people who lived his entire life in the small farming community he was born in so he had acquired a lot of friends in his 59 years of living. Many of his friends he had known since High School and earlier. It reminded me of when my Aunt Fran died of Leukemia and I had been away from this branch of the family due to my 30+ years with the Army. I stood by my Uncle Tom doing the same thing my young cousin was doing to me. “Who is that?”
I’ll finish with one positive note that we spotted at the little cemetery. This person must be into genealogy.