(Written for my parents 61st Wedding Anniversary)
We all love to hear stories
It’s why we read and watch TV.
But not many understand that
The greatest stories are of family.
Relationships with people
Is what life is all about.
The closest ones, our family
Shape us, without a doubt.
Family is so important
It develops our core inside.
Our childhood, growing up
Imprints our lives, far and wide.
How our parents coped with life
Their attitudes to it all,
Did they show their love?
Where did their loyalties fall?
Most people don’t ever realise
The constant voice in their head,
Formed from childhood experiences
All they saw, and what was said.
So understanding our parents
What happened in their early years,
Can give us true inner wisdom
And wipe away any un-needed tears.
Remembering we all do our best
In the only way we know how,
Each generation taking on echoes
From the previous, right up to now.
The only way to find things out
Is talking while they are here,
Relationships grow in love
With empathy everything’s clear.
For many years now, we’ve shared
When I visit, our family news
Who’s done what, why and when
Are they happy or in the blues?
After doing the circle of family
Alive and present today,
We often move to those passed
And their stories of ‘yesterday.’
Also the times of your younger days
The lessons you’ve lived and learned,
Experiences, the good and the bad
The pages of life you’ve turned.
Knowing of your life stories
Helps me in so many ways
Understanding of the past
Brings clarity to all my days.
Just a few short weeks ago,
A fifth generation begins
The clock of time’s evidence on show,
But how will this new generation
Know of your part of their world?
Unless they are told the stories
The past generation’s lives unfurled.
Family history needs to be shared
Not just for memories sake,
But for all the treasures they hold
From our past, our lives we make.
Each generation feeds the next
Not just on physical food and love,
But all of their experiences mould
And fit, to enfold like a glove.
Trina Graves – 21st March 2019
About This Poem
As I’ve mentioned before, my parents now look forward to receiving a poem from me on their special occasions, so with their anniversary approaching I began to think of what I could write about. I had no ideas, so I decided to look through some old photographs to get inspired (usually works!) However, before I delved into the photographs folder on my computer, I was drawn towards a folder labelled ‘My Family.’ I thought it was just another back up copy of all the family documents I had scanned over the years, but I was surprised to find it contained only one document, a diary note made in May 2018. Intrigued by coming across this I opened it to read, and discovered it was about how important it is to tell children and grandchildren the family stories that make up their family history. There was also a quote:
The history of any private family, however humble, could it be fully related for five or six generations, would illustrate the state and progress of society better than the most elaborate dissertation. (Robert Southey 1774 – 1843)
With such an amazing sign to give me guidance, especially as my parents had just become great-great-grandparents (fifth generation) it was obvious what my poem would be.
For my parents I made the poem into a booklet which also included a poem for each of their parents telling stories from their lives. I haven’t included them here for personal reasons and due to the extreme length.
The photograph below of three generations was taken for my parents 30th Wedding Anniversary in 1988. When I looked for a photo to use for this post I thought one from the photo-shoot we had that day was a perfect choice. At first I didn’t use this photo as it includes my ex-husband and my brothers ex-wives, so I began with a photo of my parents with their grandchildren. But, as I was almost finished I had a re-think and decided to use one that shows the three generations at that time, as this is a part of my family history!
I am stood behind my father, with one brother to the left and the other two far right. My three children are stood beside my mother and the other children belong to my older brother (far right) and his ex-wife (holding baby) who was my best friend at school, they had one more son after this date. All three brothers are now happily re-married and the 8 children between by older brother and I now have 20 children between them! The little girl on the far left recently became a grandmother, bringing in the fifth generation.