Feb 14, 2016

The Butterfly Effect and My Family History

Backstory: In 1929, my great-grandmother was shot and killed by my great-grandfather. It could be called a crime of passion or even an accident due to his intoxicated state and the fact that he unsuccessfully tried to kill himself immediately afterward. Even with their big family, my young teenage grandmother was the only one home at the time and witnessed the event. Her brother, David Wade, whom she ended up raising, went on to become a well-known television chef.

Today, my mother sent me a link to an article about my granduncle David that explored the impact my great-grandmother’s death had on him. I’ve grown up hearing the story, the personal version about my grandmother's experience, and it was jarring to see a version laid out, second-hand, in black and white on my internet screen. It was all facts, nothing about how it changed the life of my grandmother, who I consider just as important as my famous granduncle. In the article, there was a link to an interview my great-grandfather did from jail only a few months later. My grandmother had to testify against her own father, and according to the article, had told him she forgave him. Obviously, in this day and age, I find her forgiveness a bit skeptical. Especially since I’ve heard they rarely saw each other after he was pardoned and released. However, I never knew my grandmother, who died before I was born, so this is all speculation on my part from what I’ve heard of her. 

As I wrote before, it changed my grandmother’s life. First and foremost, she ended up moving to the town in which she met my grandfather. It is crazy to think that if it weren’t for this horrible crime, they might never have met, my mother might never have been born, I might not exist.

Reading the article and the interview has given me much to think about. Not just about what happened, but how its ripples have continued for 87 years and will continue on through time. We all learn about the big historic events, like wars and political movements, and how they have changed the world. But think about how the death of one small-town woman has brought about so much. I can’t help but think about my sister, who is another ripple from this event. She works for the the State Department in foreign affairs. Who knows what sort of impact she’s had, or will have, on the world.

All in all, I have a lot to think about.

Here's the link to the article and interview.

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