Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Cursed Lammers Family

My grandparents, whom I call Oma and Opa, immigrated from Holland to Canada and had seven children.

Their son, my Uncle Henry, died when he was 21.  He got hit by a train. 
Their grandson, my cousin, Michael, died when he was 5 days old.  Trisomy 13.
Their grandson, my cousin, Jonathan, died when he was 11.  Tragic accident.
Their son, my Uncle Martin and godfather, died when he was 52.  Heart attack.  His youngest of 4 daughters turned 16 the day of the calling hours.
Their great-grandson, my cousin's son, Caleb, was stillborn at 40 weeks.  19 months ago.

And now, their great-granddaughter, my daughter, my Lydie joins them.
My Oma, who is still living, had 7 children and 22 grandchildren.  She lost two of her sons, two of her grandchildren, and now two of her great-grandchildren.

After Lydie's death, I said to my aunt, Michael's mom, "The Lammers family is cursed!"
She responded, "I know.  We've had so many tragedies.  It almost makes you think you're safe, doesn't it?  Like nothing more could possibly happen to us?"

Yes, it did.  It did make me feel safe.
I knew tragedies happen.  I even knew they happened to our family.
I knew stillbirth happened.  It happened 19 months ago to my cousin's child.
I just didn't think, in a family with a handful of great-grandchildren, that it would happen again.
I didn't think it would happen to me.
I didn't think it would happen to my daughter.


My Opa is no longer living, but I haven't mentioned him.  He died when he was in his 80's.  He had a good life.  A hard life, in many ways, but a good life.  What happened to him was not a tragedy.

Not compared to losing 3 babies.  An 11-year-old.  A 21-year-old.  A 52-year-old.

At every family Christmas, we light candles for the family members who have died.  Family Christmas is today.  It was planned for today, because my mom was supposed to be busy the rest of December.  Busy because Lydia would be here.  It's the first family Christmas I have missed in a long time, because I was supposed to be 38 weeks pregnant.  And now I'm that I'm not 38 weeks pregnant, I'm too depressed to go anywhere or see anyone.  So my mom just sent me a photo:

Lydie's candle.  At family Christmas.  I'm so glad they are remembering her.  But it breaks my heart too.  I can't believe my daughter needs her own candle. This is so fucked up.

2 comments:

  1. So so so fucked up.

    I've thought the same exact thing about my father's family. Who, (I haven't answered your message yet about this) incidentally, are also my Oma and Opa (we're German to the core). They lived through WWII. My Opa was...a Nazi. That part sucks, but he truly didn't have a choice, from what I understand. They lived a tragic life together in Europe during the war--they were separated for about 4 years? Something like that. She spent time all over Eastern Europe--she was a nomad. She had no idea where my Opa was--if he was even alive. Before the war, she had had twins. Both were stillborn quite far into her pregnancy. Then she had another son, who would have been my Uncle Richard. She took him with her. Then, she were somehow reunited with my Opa after the war, they had another son (another uncle), then my Dad in Austria, and decided in 1955 that they were coming the U.S. Within about 2 years of moving here, my Uncle Richard died at the age of 12 from a heart abnormality.

    My Oma died when I was 21...15 years ago. I wish so badly that she was here. That I could talk to her about what it was like to live your life without 3 of your own children...to lose them in such a harsh way...Maybe we could've made each other feel better somehow? (yeah right...). She had FIVE kids. And only 2 made it.

    I sometimes think we're cursed too. But I think the reality is that this shit happens. And no one fucking talks about it. Fuck THAT.

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