I am in the middle of the best story I have ever read.
There is nothing I love more than getting completely engrossed in a story, so that even when I’m not reading it, I am thinking about it and wondering what will happen next. This doesn’t often happen to me, it has to be the right mix to really pull me in, otherwise I get bored, put the book down and then never finish it. No chance with this one.
It is a story full of intrigue – mystery, love, family, war, discovery, understanding, reconciliation, honesty, loyalty, respect and loss.
It is the story of two cousins, with the same Grandfather, but different Grandmothers, on opposite sides of the globe, finding one another and then working as a team to piece their shared history together. A history that is more unbelievable than any fiction they have ever read and is far better, as it is the truth – their truth.
They were both the historians of their families, with a trunk full of photos, certificates and memorabilia to share. The communication was via email, daily in the beginning, and most days with multiple emails. Most emails contained multiple attachments and were received by the other always with great appreciation of the time taken to compile and share. Their shared love of discovering the story spurred each other on to keep scanning and sending anything they could find that was relevant, to help map out the story, as well as bring the people alive.
This story continued over two and a half years as they both became completely obsessed with ensuring that this story was documented accurately and with compassion and understanding.
Then tragically, their story came to an end as one of them died, very suddenly. That person was my Mum and the other person was June Kendall. Their story started in June 2011, and with June’s permission I have begun reading the emails between the two of them. In three days, I have read more than 130 emails and looked at every attachment. I am so sorry to know that I only have about another 50 or so to go until this part of the story ends.
The wonderful part is that it is all there, documented for me to read and then to go back over, look at what Mum has pieced together and ordered so far, fill in some missing blanks and then share the story, here, on Mum’s blog that she started the year before they first met.
Perhaps that will awaken the passion to finish the discovery that I believe died in June when she lost my Mum. She said that I would understand how much she missed my Mum when I read their emails, and she was right. I now know just how important they were to each other, and how tragic it was that they only had the three years together before Mum died and they never got to meet each other, or even hear each other’s voice.
I don’t even need to ask June whether I would have her blessing to write the story here, as I know, from their emails that is what they both wanted – for the story to be told honestly and compassionately and be there for the world, but in particular the descendants to know.
There may just be other descendants, like us, who want to understand how there came to be two families, joined by the same man on two separate continents, who never knew the other branch existed. There may be even other people completely unrelated that will find the story fascinating.
As well as finishing reading the story in the final 50 emails, I need to work out exactly how I want to go about telling it…. So, if you would like to join me on the journey, watch this space ….