52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 31: Oldest
I wondered how I would approach the Week 31 Challenge in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Oldest. Do I find the oldest person in my tree? Do I have enough to write about them?
Week 31 – Oldest
It is amazing in families that one year you have numerous older relatives, and then, in the blink of an eye they are gone and a new generation is the oldest. This has happened in my family over the past decade.
On Boxing Day 2007, we received a call to advise us that my Auntie Eileen, dad’s sister, had passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Day. I remember my daughter, who was 8 at the time, being inconsolable that someone could die on Christmas Day.
Auntie Eileen died a month shy of her 81st birthday and in that instance we went from having an 80-year-old matriarch, the role she had held since the death of her father in 1966, to my dad being a 69-year-old patriarch. The eldest on that side was now suddenly 11 years younger. Last month we lost dad just six months shy of his 80th birthday and the baton passed to his 67-year-old niece, this time a drop of 12 years.
We went into 2009 with my grandma, great-uncle Al, and great-auntie Gwen living long healthy lives when we had the news that Uncle Al was very unwell. My grandma made an emergency dash across the country to be with him and the three of them were together when he breathed his last breath. He was 87-years-old and had been then oldest on that side since 1973 when their mother Gladys died.
Grandma was now our matriarch until we sadly said goodbye to her in 2016 at 90 years, just 12 days short of her 91st birthday. My great-aunt Gwen now became our matriarch – a position she sadly only held for less than a year as she passed away last year at 85-years-of age. All of a sudden my mother was our matriarch at 73-years-old – a 12 year difference.
It is amazing that in a blink of an eye you lose an entire generation. We forget that they get old. We forget that time marches on. Then suddenly the oldest is not so old before the process starts again.