I went over to my parents house and we dug through some papers that had been filed away. We found out that this great uncle I learned about yesterday did in fact exist. His name way Eddie and he was the third child of my Great Grandparents. He was the first child born to them in America after they immigrated here from Russia. The records that we read through indicate that he lived to be 9 months old and died of the "summer complaint." I googled "summer complaint" and found that this is a term for a sickness that effects infants and toddlers in which they get horrible diarrhea during the summer months. The description of it is pretty pathetic. More information is here.
It breaks my heart to picture my great grandparents with their dying son. Here they were, starting off in a new country with eager anticipation as they ventured into this new land. I imagine the joy they felt to have been blessed with a third child...a child born American. Then, to spend 9 months with their son, playing with him, hugging him, kissing his chubby cheeks. Then, for all of that to be devastated by his death and to endure such a tragic loss in an unfamiliar land far from all that they once knew. To bury your child...there are no words.... As I look at my own 7 month old son, I just can't even allow myself to imagine how horrific that would be!
Yet, the history brings me joy, for the next child born was my grandmother! She was such a kind, loving, and passionate woman. Now that I know the story of my Great Uncle Eddie, I think that it helps me understand my grandmother better. Being born after such a loss, gave her a unique place in the family. Perhaps she was hugged a little tighter and appreciated a little more because she certainly showered us grandchildren with great love!
Finally, the history we dug through revealed that my cousin has the same birthday as my daughter. I don't know how we missed that but we did. Same birthday...29 years apart!