Finding my cherished connection to Ireland - The Gathering from the perspective of the Diaspora
The emotional journey of reaching back into my family’s history and finding my Irish roots
My best guess is that her mother always intended to reunite, but the weeks became months, and the months stretched to years. Only after her precious girl was nearly grown into a beautiful young woman would their reunion occur. By then the bond was badly frayed, and the reunion was not the joyful experience long anticipated. Throughout the rest of their days, while both women were members of the same Irish Catholic Parish in Haverhill, their relationship remained strained and distant.
Yet, in spite of her tragic beginnings, my grandmother was a joyful woman, a lover of life and life’s small pleasures. As I have learned, she was vivacious, loved to dress up, keep a nice home, set a fancy table, go dancing. Her glass was half full, her lemons made into lemonade.
In recent years I had the privilege of getting to know my grandmother’s last living child, an elderly aunt. A few weeks before she died, this aunt, my only living relation of my father’s generation, a wise woman and a psychologist, gently asked me why the search for my grandmother’s history was so important to me. “That is the question you must answer, my dear”. I cried, as I do now, when I think of that moment.
Since that profound meeting one year ago, my genealogical research has ground to a halt. Instead, I have been turning my aunt’s question over and over in my mind, trying to find an answer. I realize, more than anything, a need to connect to the tree that eventually brought me into this disconnected world. Having been removed from my own mother’s home at a tender young age, I identify closely with my grandmother, a woman I never met, yet think of often.
So for me, this is where The Gathering begins. We diaspora do not want to embarrass or to pester our families. We do not want to take advantage of frail, elderly cousins. We want connection. We want an open door and a cup of tea. We want to understand more of where we come from, why we are who we are. We want to hear your stories, share your memories, learn your traditions. We want to come home.
*Carr-Ramirez lives in Los Angeles, California, is married with three grown children, and is a hobbyist genealogist. She hopes one day to travel to Ireland to meet family and to explore the countryside.