We have a family legend passed down through the years about the Titanic, that famous unsinkable ship that sunk 100 years ago this month. Yes, my great grandmother, grandmother, great aunt and two great uncles “missed the boat”. Because of that, I am alive today and I am grateful for them “missing the boat”, because the boat was the Titanic.
In 1912, my great grandmother and her four children were anxiously awaiting an opportunity to start a new life in Canada with my great grandfather. He had come over earlier and bought land to start their new life. He had a sod shack built and was ready for his family to reunite with him.
My great grandparents were not rich. They lived in South Wales and my great grandmother had come from a wealthy family. When the voyage of the Titanic was announced, my great great uncle, who was extremely wealthy, provided the money for the passage for his niece and her small children to travel in style and safety on the Titanic.
I can imagine the excitement that Gran had as she gathered up all of her belongings and her small children. Voyages for emigrants were notoriously harsh in that day and age. She must have been so pleased to think that her children were going on the safest ship, one that was being shouted as being “unsinkable”.
With her four small children in tow, she set out for the train. Along the way, something happened, a flat tire, perhaps…here the details begin to get foggy. Gran did not like to talk about that time and so the details have been lost along the way. What we do know is that they did not make it. They missed the train that was to take them to the port where the Titanic was sailing from.
They did not make it on time and so the Titanic sailed without them. So here I sit today, alive because of a missed opportunity. Yes, there were survivors of that horrible maritime disaster…710. Would my grandmother have been among them? It is hard to tell…can you imagine the horror going through a mother’s heart trying to save four children while that ship sank around them? I don’t know if any of them would have survived.
What Missing the Titanic Meant for Our Family
Gran, my great grandmother, was an amazing woman with a heart of gold. My grandmother grew up, married and had my mother…and so I exist…as do my brother, his children and grandchildren…my children and grandchildren. For that, I am grateful.
For whatever reason that my ancestors missed the sailing and sinking of the Titanic, I am forever thankful. I know that we are all significant in this world of ours, no matter what we accomplish in this life.
We often moan missed opportunities and “what might have been”…we are not clairvoyant and can’t see what would have happened…in this instance, the world saw the significance of missing that ship.
Blessings in Disguise
My great grandmother had been upset when she missed the sailing of the Titanic…to her it represented failure, the loss of the precious dollars that were to take her to see her husband start their new life…and then, when the news traveled to her home in South Wales, the full impact of what they had really missed hit her…and for the rest of her life, Gran never took life for granted. She was a very spiritual woman and she lived that way…she, at age 65, raised my mom from infancy, all the way to adult hood, on her own on that small prairie farm.
When you think back on events in your life…can you see those blessings in disguise? Those things that would not have happened…those connections that we can see…it's all connected…
It’s all about perspective and how we view things, isn’t it? They did manage to safely cross the Atlantic and start their new life in North America in 1913, the following year. As family legends go, this one about my grandmother and her family missing the maiden voyage of the Titanic is quite amazing to us…and yet all families have those stories…similar stories… Do you have an interesting story about your ancestors? I would be interested in knowing! Post it in the comment section!
"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?" Sherie Venner
Image Credit: Victor Habbick
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