My ancestor… I want to know more, I crave information about my past. I’m left with my unanswered questions and even more closed doors. I know I come from all over Europe but so does every white person in North America.
There is nothing special about where I am from in comparison with others, but there is something special about who I am from. The long line of magical women and strong men from which I descend. The people that have shaped the way I look and the way I speak.
Yet I am still unsatisfied with the unknown. I want to change that. I want my family after me to know who I was and what I loved. I want to be remembered as the aunt, the mother, the grandmother, the woman who changed our family for the better. I want to be remembered as a strong-willed and powerful human with kindness and warmth. I want someone to be reminded of me, by the smell of a fresh rose.
I want my children’s babies to know what my favorite song was to sing and how I danced in the kitchen while cooking. I want to create traditions that get passed on from generation to generation and be remembered as something we do together. I want songs, dances, and art to be passed down and taught to the youth of my family. I want my progeny to find themselves living on a planet full of love and light, where the air is fresh and the water is clean. I want them to know that I lived a full and abundant life and that I wish the very same for them.
Leaving this Earth. I wish to exit this Earth knowing that I have left something behind during my existence. Knowing that I have made some kind of difference. Maybe changed someone’s life for the better, or maybe created someone who lives a life of love and acceptance. I want whoever comes after me to know that living in fear is a virus. During this time of self-isolation, I find myself thinking a lot about the future and what it holds. Only time will tell if this was just some of the strangest few months in the history of our modern world, or this was the end. I would like to think that it is not the end. In fact, I highly doubt it is. But I sit here thinking about what they will say in books and movies about the year 2020.
The year I was graduating high school, the year that COVID-19 struck fear into everyone. I hope that my children and their children after don’t live in fear of the unknown and rather embrace it. I hope they are full of love and compassion for others. When something goes wrong, like it usually does, they are leveled headed and ready to take it on. Just how my parents have taught me. If we continue living in such a destructive way towards the Earth and leaving the pieces for our children to pick up; the cycle will never stop. Places and creatures we once enjoyed as kids may no longer exist. Forest and clean water will disappear and leave them helpless.
We need to reevaluate the way we are living our lives. We need to make some major changes now in this lifetime so that the family that comes after us doesn’t have to clean up the mess we have left them. Our ancestors didn’t change the way they were living and now we suffer the consequences. We have to be the change we want to see in the world and start acting now. That is what being a good ancestor means to me: leaving behind a planet that is thriving. So here I am, almost 18 years old knowing that I have a lot more to learn from life experiences and understanding that sometimes those lessons aren’t easy, but I am ready to face them.
Though the year hasn’t gone as planned and all of our lives have been thrown upside down, I feel a sense of calm knowing that my ancestors before me have experienced similar pandemics and that hopefully, my posterity will know what to do differently in the future. I know what kind of ancestor I want to be; one that left the earth in better shape than I found it. One that cared about my family’s future. One who loved.