Well, this is a journal, not a blog. Right? So I should be writing about what's been going on in my life. We just got back from Michigan on Monday - we went up for Lindsay's grandfather's memorial service and my doctoral advisor's retirement party. And in between that we started the job of cleaning out her grandparent's home. It's amazingly daunting to try to clean out a house where people lived for over fifty years. They were well organised, which made the job a lot easier, but there was still the accumulation of decades of life. And it was very hard for me to have to throw things away - things that they had valued as keepsakes. It's a good thing it wasn't my decision what to keep or throw away.
I spent a long time trying to piece together what little I could of my paternal great-grandparents. While I got a lot of stories while my grandparents were still alive, I also didn't ask a lot of things, or lost notes. More than that, memories aren't always accurate. The time I spent poring through the Royal Gazette in the National Archives gave me insight that I had never had, not from any stories. But that insight was so fragmentary. What I would have given for a single scrap of their lives - a letter to or from them, some hint of who they were or what they were like. Although I knew them quite well, this week I learned so much more about who Lindsay's grandparents were, as people. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If we are fortunate enough to have children, they will never know Cliff and Margaret. That's just life. But it breaks my heart that we had to throw away so much of what could have given that sort of insight. You can't save everything. Sadly, you can't even save nearly enough.