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  • Rebecca Drew

Hope


Yellow Daffodil

The Canadian Cancer Society holds an annual campaign every Spring to support those affected by cancer. Their symbol is one of Spring's happiest arrivals, the Daffodil. The Daffodil symbolizes hope, something everyone needs at some point.


Thinking about the Society's choice to utilize the Daffodil, I wonder what brought hope to all of our ancestors? Particularly Canada, when colonists and immigrants found themselves in a harsh climate, I wonder if any of them brought flower bulbs from their motherland. Would their bulbs bloom after deep freezing temperatures? Then, I ponder what else motivated their hope, or was it just day-to-day survival without time for navel-gazing?


Oddly enough, I wondered these things after getting my first dose of "the vaccination." You know the one. While filling out the paperwork, I wondered, "If someone found this record centuries from now, and it was the only record they had about individuals getting the vaccination, what conclusions would they draw?" Everyone curious about genealogy, including myself, may start drawing conclusions without having all the facts. I do it all the time. Yet, is that fair to the person being researched? I understand that all we can do is create educated guesses about the lives of our ancestors, but is it fair to publish those guesses? In the United States, most people who have passed away no longer have rights to privacy. Even if all their records became available to future researchers, that information only captures a small part of their being. How can you capture what is in a person's heart? What about their dreams? Their triumphs? Their disappointments? And how about their hope?


Perhaps I had too much time to spare during those fifteen minutes of waiting for the vaccine's after-effects. I had just finished the paperwork, and eventually, I had the room to myself. I glanced at the paperwork, realizing they may have my social security number, and a few random statistics about my life at this point in time, but they don't know much else. Again, if a researcher grabbed a stack of our vaccination paperwork, and it was the Year 3030, what would they truly know about us? Not much. They would have a handful of facts (assuming the truth was written down in the first place, wink, wink) about people in Year 2021, but they would know nothing about how those people lived in Year 2000, or how they will possibly live in Year 2030. So what's the point in climbing these often-elusive family trees, or conducting any demographic work for that matter, beyond providing tools for idle curiosity?


Okay, I will concede, demographic research can help entities make better decisions and possibly help people in a current state of need. However, will those entities need to make those same decisions 100 years from now? Okay, I will also concede that valuable lessons can be learned from history, like my article about L'Acadia: The Descendants of Acadia. There is no doubt in my mind that we must be mindful of the actions of both people and regimes from history.


I suppose I'm referring to matters of the heart, particularly hope. We will never truly know the depths of the human heart, and it's truly none of our business, unless people want to make it known via a journal, or flat-out telling you and recording it for posterity. Yet, will you know that's truly how they feel, deep-down? Is that how they felt ten years earlier, twenty years earlier? Will they feel that way later in life? And what if they are stricken with a condition like cancer? Will there ever be a cure? How do we endure with hope? Seriously, this vaccination is having an affect on me! Such deep thoughts for a journal about daffodils and such! Let's just HOPE there will be a cure for all cancers. And let's just HOPE this vaccination eventually keeps all of us away from re-experiencing this episode in history.


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