Mum told me a story years ago about her godchild's mother and aunt being shot by the British army. Even though I have been digging around in her O'Rourke past, she always refers me to this other side of her family who she reminisces about with such fondness. When mum ran away from home, she went to live with Uncle James who introduced her to her cousin Jim.
Jim was an amazing singer and a "hulk of a man." Uncle James sent for him to participate in Glasgow singing competitions. Mum spent holidays in Ireland with these cousins and has so many great stories about them. Mum and dad became great friends with Jim and Maura. However, in their early 20s, my parents left for Australia and most contact ceased. I decided a couple of days ago to once again ask my mum the names of her family so I could Google search. Then it dawned on me. Find Maura. And I did.
After inputting "Maura Shot Belfast" I was directed to a genealogy site where I found her son's wife. Now I have contact with them all and when my mother saw a photo of her godchild she lost her breath for a minute. Her cousin Jim has passed, something she did not know. Many of the family are also gone. The baby of the family was only three when his mother was shot. This tragedy is heart-breaking and way too close to me.
There appears to be so much suffering on all sides of my family which makes me more determined to bring it into the light. These people are who make me who I am whether I know it consciously of not. This inherited cultural and genetic information is the reason "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" was unbearable to watch and "In The Name of The Father" made my blood boil and my heart break. In a way I feel unworthy of feeling the way I do, since I am not living it. Again I pay homage to Irish women who have suffered unbearable circumstances and fought for their families. -- Frances O'Neill