We’ve all heard a lot about flu pandemics recently. The fear that the bird flu or the H1N1 virus (swine flu) could be the next deadly pandemic is very real and frightening.
One of the worst pandemics of all time was the Spanish Flu of 1918. It is estimated that one fifth of the world's population was infected, and around 50 million people died (source). This terrible flu outbreak affected the lives of many families, including my grandfather’s.
My grandfather lived with his family on a farm in rural
I can only imagine how difficult it would be to grieve for a spouse while trying to raise a family and run a farm as a single parent in those days. They did not enjoy the modern conveniences that do, such as electricity and indoor plumbing. This horrific flu outbreak left these two families in a very difficult position.
Within months of losing their spouses, my great-grandfather married his recently widowed sister-in-law! They were not blood relatives, but how strange it must have been for the kids to have their father marry their aunt! I wonder if it was a practical marriage, or if they always had a thing for each other... Something must have been right, because together they had eight more children!
I think this is a rather intriguing branch on my family tree. Two families found a way to survive a tragic loss and carry on with life together.