I remember when my mom drove home from work in tears from the pain, vomiting in the car. I don’t remember exactly what happened next. She may have gone to the emergency room — maybe our neighbor watched me that evening — or she may have toughed it out and went to the doctor the next day. My mom was tough like that.
I wasn’t privy to all the conversations. I knew she was sick. I didn’t have a name for it at first. I don’t remember the treatments, only the hospital. My best friend and I went to visit her after her surgery. We had drawn pictures for her. I think mine had a rainbow, and some hearts. She must have been gone from our house for a few days — I remember missing her.
Many people put a lot of stock in their bloodlines. They like to tell tales of famous ancestors and are excited to learn that their great-great-great-uncle performed a heroic deed. I find this tendency rather curious. Why do we care so much about the lives of long-deceased people we’ve never met, simply because we inherited some of their genes? Do we believe their greatness has been passed down to us? What about the ancestors with less admirable stories — do we believe we inherited the shame of their misdeeds? (And if we go back far enough, aren’t we all part of the same family tree?) Whatever the reasons, there’s no question that our biological and genetic descendancies form key parts of our identities.