The Complexities of Recounting a Life

Recounting lives is complicated as I was reminded today. It is also a huge responsibility.If I have learned anything from  family history, it is  that  often things which may have horrified people at the time, may be viewed totally differently, in  fifty or a hundred years time. Time often fills in the blanks, frequently a fuller picture of people and events takes time to emerge.

Sometimes we are too close to the subject. I love the programme Cold Case which seems to illustrate this perfectly. People’s perspectives often change with time and their own  life experience.

My poor GGG Aunt who died giving birth to a child in prison may have been viewed as a felon at the time now however it is clear she is a victim. Somebody who lost their life through stealing a few pieces of coal and slices of bread. A historical perspective may also mean seeing somebody in a less favourable light.

In truth people are complex. Life really is a rich tapestry. I love forensic reconstructions. Do we stick with the bare bones or do we do Disney Pixar -like layering , give character and texture to our reconstructions even though an occasional blemish might be revealed?

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