Putting my story and my son’s life into context was important to me after Alex was killed. The grief was overwhelming. I was so deeply lost in the horror of what had happened and the terrifying thought of the rest of my life without him, that I yearned for something, anything, that would help me grapple with the enormity of his loss.
Oddly enough, or perhaps understandably — it matters not — I decided to do a DNA test as well as start a family tree on MyHeritage, an online site that facilitates the creation of a tree and research into ancestors. I wanted to gain some form of perspective, to see myself as simply another person in a long line of family members, in the hope of gaining insight into what I was going through. This decision to start a family tree quite possibly kept me out of the lunatic asylum. I spent thousands of hours researching my family, and when I say thousands, I do not exaggerate. Night after night, when sleep eluded me and my mind was plagued with nightmarish thoughts of what his last moments must have been like, I would lose myself in online documents that led me further and further back in time. Some branches of my family I was able to trace back to the 8th century, others only as far back as great-grandparents. But the act of giving my brain respite from the grief and my intellect another focus really helped in keeping me sane(ish).
It’s safe to say that the tree, which now stands at over 4500 ancestors, is a testament to the resilience of the human soul to just keep going.
Published on Instagram, 31st August 2018
© Katja Faber 2018