Monday, February 13, 2012

Feeling Kind of Manley

About a year ago I began searching through my family history. Since my colon cancer was genetic, from Lynch Syndrome, I wanted to see how far back I could trace this gene. Who did it start with? I also wanted to try and see what other branches of my family might not be aware of it... if someone I am related to is at risk for it then I certainly don't want to keep it a secret.

I also began going through old photos and asking family members to look through theirs and I have just loved every minute of learning about the family members that I either never met or only knew briefly due to Lynch Syndrome. Cancer stole a lot of time from us, time that I really wish I could have back. There are so many days that I miss them... even the ones I never knew.

But there was one photo that I found that just got me

SO excited! Before I started doing all of this research there was a "rumor" say in my family that my great-grandfather's mother had died of colon cancer. I didn't know her name, I had never seen her face, but I also felt like she was the "link" if you will to what I was looking for. Well I found this photo... I forget who gave it to me, but the feeling I got from seeing this photo is what urged me to continue looking for more information.

This is my great-great grandmother on my mom's side, Margaret Manley Meredith. This is the first time I saw her and is still only one of two photos that I have of her. I really wish photography had been more common in the 1800s... I would have loved more pictures. Not long after finding this photo, I found a distant relative online that I have never met who was also doing a family tree. She passed along Margaret's death certificate to me. Cause of death: carcinoma (adenoma) of the colon: intestinal obstruction for 10 days, age 62. I hate to say that I was excited about seeing it, but I was. Not because I was glad she had colon cancer or anything, but because I had a definite answer and could now move on to the next generation. Also, in a weird way this whole genetic cancer thing links us... I feel closer to those ancestors than other ones because I feel I can really relate to something they experienced, even though I wasn't there. They also inspires me... if they could go through it so long ago then I should certainly be able to handle it today with modern medicine. It makes me feel blessed.

So far, the last names in my family that I'm searching are Meredith, Manley, Crunk, and Crank. They lived mostly in Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Do you have any info?? Thanks!

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"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting..... 'WHAT A RIDE!'"