So you’ve gone and found out some things about your family heritage and maybe found out a bit more than you bargained for, so what do you do with all that?
Photo: My parents wedding in Georgetown, Guyana October 1953
One of the great things about deciding to find out more about your ancestral line is you find out some very interesting things about your family of origin. And then you have to decide what to do with it. I decided that I wanted to have a better relationship with my aging parents, I knew that I wanted to go back to Guyana and seek out long lost relatives and I wanted to be more at peace with less internal conflict. And what I found to help me work with all that was Family Constellations.
It was only a few months ago that my father told me he and mum had their wedding party the evening before the wedding and got married the following day. I was a little taken aback by this, “well why was that” I asked, ‘Because I was leaving a few days after for the UK, my father replied” hmm I thought and so you wouldn’t have a lot of drunken party goers I thought but kept that to myself.
A Splintered Family Tree
My family tree has splintered through migration and there now seems to be very few close family members left in Guyana that I know, something that is true for many other people I am sure. The difference with Guyana as oppose to other Caribbean islands is it’s location as the only English-speaking country in South America. That and the lack of beaches which has made much of the rest of the Caribbean into a tourism hotspot, but left Guyana behind. Inter-raciall politics and economic turbulence has meant that many people have left and often don’t come back for decades at a time.
I have always missed the sense of community that comes from having family members around you. The biggest Caribbean community by far in the UK are Jamaicans followed by other ‘small islanders’ and Guyanese. The first wave of Guyanese people came to the UK in the late 50’s and early 60’s, later many migrated to Canada and the US.
I have pressed my aging parents for more parts of the story and as often in Caribbean transgenerational tales it is complicated. On my fathers paternal family line, my father tells the story of meeting his great-grandfather, my great-great grandfather when he was eight or nine. He thinks he must have been about 108 and thus was born into slavery.
I always knew that my great-grandmother on my mothers maternal line was Arawak, but I know little about her other than that her name was Garty and she was considered a great strength in the family.
Tracing the Family Line
My mother can trace her family back to her grandparents on both sides, her grandfather lived until he was 112 so if I follow that pattern I have a long time ahead of me, lol! It is a source of solace as a child who was born in the UK to have something to look back to, although many of those relatives are unknown to me which brings great sadness.
And so how does this all connect to Family Constellations? It is impossible to know everything about a past history, so what I wanted was a way of conencting the present to the past for the future. Family Constellations has offered me a way to do that by mapping and exploring my family system that includes all three, past, present and future.
It is a unique and liberating method and process for exploring systems trangenerationally and has helped me to heal from past traumatic events and find points of reconciliation for the present.
In the next blog post I am going to delve a little deeper into the Family Constellationsprocess, why it works for me and what it could offer you?