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01 May 2016 @ 12:47 am
Just the saddest thing  
On my fiftieth birthday my stepmum presented me with a folder containing my family history, as far back as she could trace it. I was surprised to learn I had an aunt that I'd never heard of - Betty Jean, born in 1930 with cerebral palsy and placed into a childrens' home, where she died around 1947, according to one of my surviving aunts. My stepmum had her birth certificate, but couldn't find her death certificate anywhere, so she left the actual date of death blank.

Now I know why. One of my cousins called me tonight - he'd had a call from the Public Trustee's office who were trying to trace Betty Jean's relatives, as she had died in November last year.

All that time. Imagine that - 85 years spent in institutions, never knowing you had a family out there in the real world, never having that connection with people that loved and accepted her. I'm going to see what I can find out about her, although I don't hold out much hope. And it's too much to hope that her life was a good one.
Current Mood: sadsad
Fiorenza_afiorenza_a on April 30th, 2016 03:16 pm (UTC)

This is why I get so angry with people who bang on about 'the good old days'. People with disabled children were advised, if not pressurised, into giving up their children.

But your Aunt might not have been unhappy, she didn't know about family life and not all institutions are heartlessly cruel places.

For a disabled child in that era, the outside world could be heartlessly cruel.

You Aunt may well have been happy by her definition of that term, and in the end, that's the only definition that counts.

Find out about her, be prepared for sorrow, but don't exclude hope :0)
miwahni: Boosh Listen to your heartmiwahni on May 1st, 2016 10:06 am (UTC)
I have a starting point, at least - tracked down her obituary and her funeral notice. The obit states "all who knew and loved her will miss her beautiful smile". I like to think that this means she had people who cared for her, and that she was happy.
ETA: misread the obit and left out the most important part!

Edited at 2016-05-01 10:09 am (UTC)
Fiorenza_afiorenza_a on May 1st, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC)

It takes time and trouble to post an obit, so that's a hopeful sign.

I'm sorry you never had the chance to meet her. There are 'missing' members of my family too.

I hope your searches prove fruitful :0)
miwahni: B7 BlakeAvon Watching over youmiwahni on May 3rd, 2016 11:18 am (UTC)
Thanks,yes, am getting in touch with the home listed in the obit, and see what I can find out.