by Karen J Mossman
We all enjoy reading stories and it’s not only fiction that grabs our attention. I heard one the other day, and it saddened me greatly. A life wasted with someone not reaching their full potential. It makes me think about how we don’t get second chances in this life. This is it, and we are all encouraged to make the most out of what we’ve got. Sometimes these choices are taken away through no fault of our own, and this is just one of them.
I belong to the Anglesey Federation of Women’s Institutes, a wonderful place bringing women together for friendship and education.
At one of our meetings, we had a speaker, Audrey Jones, who talked about family history. I traced my mine many years ago and often got sidetracked by people’s stories. Audrey said that common as she did it too. Concentrating on her own bloodline, she created an amazing family tree going back hundreds of years. One story she came across solved a family mystery, and she shared it with us. It is this that I wanted to share with you.
Audrey always knew one of her family, an uncle’s mother, was locked in a mental institution. It was something only whispered about within the family. When she looked into her history and began asking questions, she finally uncovered the truth.
In 1938, Bessie, who came from a well-to-do family, found herself pregnant and unmarried. To avoid a scandal, her father had her committed. Bessie gave birth to the baby, but she remained locked away until her death in 1988.
By coincidence, one lady listening to the talk told us as part of her nursing training in early 2000, she went to that psychiatric hospital and met Bessie. She said was as normal as anyone in this room except after all those years; she was very institutionalised.
As the story was told, there were many gasps from those listening, wondering how something like that could happen. It was a life lost and never lived to its fullest potential. So terribly sad and it affected everyone in the room that day.