Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Williams Grandparents: How They Died

OK, that's not a fun topic, I know, but bear with me here, will you? This business of how and why they died started because I was sprucing up Mom's Big Tree on Ancestry.com and trimming a few shaky leaves, and then slowed down a mite to take a look at the photos of Mom's parents and see if there should be more and if so which, when I noticed how old Grandma Williams was when she died. She was 58. Only 58. Younger than I am now.

I was shocked! I sure knew what year she died - 1956 - and even remember clearly when Mom picked me up from school and told me that she died, and that we'd be leaving our suburban house in Maple Heights, Ohio, and traveling to the funeral in Frostburg, Maryland. Remember like it was yesterday.

Mom was very concerned that I'd be upset, and of course I was. But being only 10 years old at the time my understanding of death and dying was limited. I think, looking back on it, that I was more concerned that Mom was upset.

But when we drove the four hours from outside Cleveland to the little mountain town in Western Maryland where all my grandparents lived, and I saw the relatives and my Grandfather Williams, I got it. Death was serious business. But what I didn't get then was that she was what we'd now consider young when she died. She was, as I said before, just 58.

When I saw the Ancestry.com page for Grandmother Williams, her life formed up a different picture.

Wow! She was only 58! Sorry to repeat so much but I just can't get over it. So I called Mom and we spoke about it. Mom filled in the spaces for me. Grandmother had a stroke because she had high blood pressure. It was untreated then because there were no blood pressure meds as there are now. Then she had a second stroke on the heels of the first one and that was it.

You know how it is for us with grandparents: they are always "old" in our youngster's eyes. If I had to guess before knowing, I'd have said I guessed she was in her mid-70s. Then I checked Grandfather Williams and saw that he died when he was 63. Geeezzz! I'm 67.

I just love it how some overlooked fact can jump out at you and suddenly you have a whole new view of things surrounding your family. This experience made me realize that we are fortunate to live in time when some ailment like high blood pressure doesn't have to be fatal. We can, with care, plan for longer lives than those of our ancestors. And of course, more time to work on genealogy.

Aunt Betty is good at keeping track of who died of what. It's all there in her GEDCOM. But I'm going to call and chat with her about it too.

Cambria "Camey" Williams 1897 - 1960 and Emma Susan (Whetstone) Williams 1897 - 1956.
Don't they look happy and sweet?

The URL for this post is: http://nutsfromthefamilytree.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-williams-grandparents-how-they-died.html

1 comment:

  1. This is such an interesting post. Yeah, it’s amusing how people older than us seem to look more advanced in age than they actually are. Actually, it’s also true the other way around. Younger people seem to look a lot younger even when they grow old. It’s a pity your grandmother died early. It seems she would have accomplished much more.

    David Munson