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To be upset about an aunt who died years before I was born.

(76 Posts)
lovelydoggies Wed 07-Jan-15 19:55:44

She was my dads only sister and she died aged 11 after a very short illness. She was my grandparents only daughter and all I really knew about her is that she died just before one Christmas years ago.
I never realised the reason my grandparents always hated Christmas, but they always did their best for us and celebrated with us all when we were children.
I never really had given her much thought but the other day I received my grandparents little box of odds and ends, and in it was a newspaper cutting about their daughter dying and it said a few little things about her and the school she had attended etc.
I just feel so so sad for my grandparents, and it's too late now for me to tell them, and upset about the aunt I never knew. The little cutting from the paper has somehow completely thrown me.
Am I being ridiculous for crying for someone I never knew. Would any of you be like this?

NoonarAgain Wed 07-Jan-15 20:00:26

What a sad story. It'd be more strange not to feel upset about it, surely?

Blackout234 Wed 07-Jan-15 20:01:29

YANBU to be upset. Sorry that you never got to meet her xx

Iggly Wed 07-Jan-15 20:02:23


I cried when told the story of my grandmother dying - when my mum was only four. It still upsets me now!

RJnomore Wed 07-Jan-15 20:05:07

My granny was born in 1910. She was one of ten children, two of them died in early childhood.

She died herself at a grand old age and a few years later, one of my mothers cousins sent her some old photos. One of the photos, we worked out from the dates on it, was of my great granny and wee Betty, my granny's dead baby sister.

I found that really upsetting. It brought home that a real little person, loved by her family and with their hopes and dreams for her future, died. My granny never forgot her little sister and often talked of her. So no, you aren't being ridiculous and it's lovely that someone is remembering her.

Jazzhandsrule Wed 07-Jan-15 20:09:44

Not at all ridiculous. It's very sad and to know your Grandparents, people you loved and cared for, lost a child so tragically is bound to be upsetting. Sending you my best wishes OP.

ChoosandChipsandSealingWax Wed 07-Jan-15 20:10:11

DH's uncle died aged 9 of a sudden illness - DH's mum was about six and he was a much adored older brother. It has always deeply affected her. Particularly as her parents were so upset by it that they hardly spoke to her for a year after - imagine.

Also her parents were older when they had her so she never had any more siblings. All so sad.

lovelydoggies Wed 07-Jan-15 20:16:56

Choosandchips how sad and how awful for your dhs mum.

Greywackejones Wed 07-Jan-15 21:15:04

I never met my bro. He died two years before I was born. 18mths old. I knew and thought I understood. Then I had my own 18mth old. The things she does! Can do. Will do. I had no idea really. And he died. Just one day because in the 70s transplants weren't possible. I carry a donor card because I couldn't bear another family to feel that. But conversely hate tv appeals as I cannot reconcile the desperation of one child for another. Anyway I digress... For you It made her real. And that for me is what remember emcs should be. Remembering an actual life. Not just the idea of life iyswim.

expatinscotland Wed 07-Jan-15 21:20:59

Not at all ridiculous. My daughter died due to leukaemia when she was 9. Her sister was 6 and her brother was 3. I'm not a big fan of Christmas, just sort of put on for them, but that's every bereaved parent I'm met.

'Particularly as her parents were so upset by it that they hardly spoke to her for a year after - imagine.'

Yes, I can. Early grief following child bereavement is so far beyond the bounds of qualification. I know two women who did not survive child bereavement, their grief was so great they ended their lives. And for those who faced this in the 70s or earlier, there would have been even less support and this idea that you should completely forget about your dead child.

velvetspoon Wed 07-Jan-15 21:26:06

Not ridiculous to be sad at all.

My grandad was a twin, his twin sister died at about 3 of measles sad she was the only gorl in a family of 5 brothers. he remembered her all his life, and named one of his children after her. I was the first granddaughter and was very nearly named after her too.

Deaths of children are very sad, particularly those where caused by an illness than can often be prevented or cured nowadays.

123098 Wed 07-Jan-15 21:28:52

my mum had a brother who was 6. In the 50s they were playing near a lake together. she was 10, he was wearing wellington boots and they filled up with water and he drowned. she had to run home to tell my grandma and grandad.

my dad also had a sister who died of lung cancer aged 11 sad

lovelydoggies Wed 07-Jan-15 21:31:29

Expatinscotland I'm so sorry, my upset can't compare to yours. I can't imagine how hard things must be for you. flowers
Greywakejones that's so sad, sorry. flowers

Showy Wed 07-Jan-15 21:31:47

My wonderful Great Grandma was a giant of a woman, born in 1889. Refused to marry young in favour of volunteering to nurse during WW1. She became a midwife and married fairly late. She had three children, one with Down's Syndrome, my Grandad and a little girl. She was told to put my Uncle (with DS) in a home and forget him. She raised him and loved him until the day she died, aged 96. Her husband, my Great Grandfather died when the children were small. It was a mining accident caused by negligence and the Coal Board refused to pay out his pension. She was left penniless with three children, one with complex needs. Her baby girl then choked on a fish bone and died. She was 3 years old.

When Granny died, we cleared out her things. I was very fortunate to have known her and privileged to be given her things, including the box on her bedside table. In it there was the only photograph she had of her and her little girl, the details of the funeral and the poem my Granny wrote to remember her. I still can't look at it without sobbing.

Granny had a sister too. Her name was Esther. Esther got married in 1899 and had her first baby in 1900. In 1902 she had a second son. 3 months after the birth she contracted TB and died. A photograph of her and a lock of her hair were put in a locket and it was engraved with a message to her baby. Sadly, a couple of months later the baby also died. In 1917, her eldest boy was killed in WW1. I still have that locket and I wear it often. DD asks about the lady Esther in it sometimes and I find it very sad talking about her. She didn't get to enjoy her marriage and her babies and they followed her too soon.

They're just ghosts from the past I suppose. But they're also my family. There are lots of stories like this in my family tree and they aren't just sad stories, they're where I came from. From domestic abuse to mining accidents, abandoned babies, workhouses, debtors prison and torrid affairs. I look at photographs of them and I can see my children in them and I know how much I love my own dc and how much such bleak times must have hurt. It's a peculiar mixture of sadness, poignancy and an overwhelming feeling of being grateful for the world I was born into.

MinceSpy Wed 07-Jan-15 21:40:09

My great aunt died at Auschwitz and it makes me really sad. My granddad missed her till the day he died and I would have loved to have met her.

MrsMook Wed 07-Jan-15 21:43:50

My Gm had an uncle who got called up to WW2 when she was a baby and never had chance to meet her. He was so proud to be an uncle and carried a photo of her. He died in a POW camp in the far east. When my GGM died, a letter from his best friend turned up in her possessions describing what a gentle sensitive soul he was and the conditions they went through. We both sobbed for someone we never knew. It's making me well up thinking about it.

There was also a photo of a lovely 12-13 year old girl, with such a warm smile. she'd be something like my 2-3x great aunt, and she died of a childhood illness about a year after that picture was taken. I just felt a connection to this young girl who'd been born roughly 90 years before me and sad that that life had ended so soon.


CallMeExhausted Wed 07-Jan-15 21:54:47

My mother's brother died in 1969, 10 days before his 17th birthday - as a result of burns he sustained in an explosion.

I never met him, I wasn't born until 4 years later, but he was a common topic of conversation at family get-togethers. I was the first in our family to have a child - my DS. His middle name is my late uncle's name. I made that promise to my mother and nan when I learned I was having a boy.

When my nan passed, my mother threw out boxes of family photos. I went into the tip and dug them out - included in them were hundreds of photos of Jack. They are safely stored in my house now. As this was just one of many unthinkable things my mother had done, I was livid.

Now for the "woo" part. My DS was born prematurely, on the exact same day that my uncle died 29 years earlier.

MissPenelopeLumawoo2 Wed 07-Jan-15 21:55:05

One of my great-aunts died screaming in agony from cancer. This was pre-NHS and they had no money to get anything to help her pain. I thank God for the NHS and the availability of morphine we have these days.

x2boys Wed 07-Jan-15 22:00:30

My mums oldest brother died at the age of three weeks old in the 1930,s my grandma wasn't producing enough milk and he also had gastritis and didn't survive her brother next to him was born fourteen months after her mum and dad were told to have another baby as soon as they could by the family dr , my grandparents went on to have my uncle ,my mum and my other uncle .

lovelydoggies Wed 07-Jan-15 22:00:39

That's so sad Showy....your great grandma was a remarkable woman.

Pensionerpeep Wed 07-Jan-15 22:02:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CyclopsBee Wed 07-Jan-15 22:10:35

Yanbu thanks
I found out my mum had a brother who died before she was born. He was 2 years old and had meningitis sad
it only came to light when we named my DS and it was the exact same name (first and middle) as the lost brother. Before this nobody has spoken of him but my nan was overjoyed that we had chosen the name

everygalaxy Wed 07-Jan-15 22:13:40

We have the funeral bills, all written out in beautiful ink, for my grandad's two older brothers that died as babies around 1910. So very sad, I sometimes think about them. A silly thing that keeps upsetting me is seeing my first birthday cards written by my grandmother because I don't remember her but she must have loved me.

ChoosandChipsandSealingWax Wed 07-Jan-15 22:20:41

expat I didn't mean "imagine how could one do that to a child". More - imagine how awful it all was for all of them and how much she is still therefore affected. It has rippled down the whole family, so sad.

I'm very sorry for your loss. thanks

BumGravy Wed 07-Jan-15 22:21:34

YANBU I am upset just reading these stories flowers

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