Present Issue: The women in the client’s family marry men who die, leave, are workaholics or alcoholics, emotionally unavailable, or fail to support them and their children. Her father was emotionally unavailable, her grandfather was an alcoholic, and her uncle married a woman who left him with the children. This has continued for multiple generations and now the women in this generation are not married because they cannot seem to find responsible, committed partners.

Journey: First Life—The ancestor is hunched over the fire making dinner for her 2 small children, a boy and girl. The father has abandoned them, but they anticipate he will return one day. Life goes on. There is no pressure or grief, just the waiting.

The waiting emotionally closes her off from everyone, including the children. She is not connected to anyone in the village either. She feels no grief, pain, or sadness. She just moves through life. When the oldest boy decides to leave home and the village, she accepts this as natural.

After a few years, the younger girl marries a man from the village because it is expected. She has no deep feeling for him, but this is what young women are supposed to do.

The ancestor feels like she has fulfilled her responsibility to get her daughter married. She feels she did what she had to do although she doesn’t have much to show for it. Her daughter is by her side on her deathbed. She says it was a lonely existence. Her partner left without love. She was fine but she wished she were not so emotionally closed.

Second Life—After her husband left, a friend came by and offered her money so she could start over. She takes the children and move to the city into a community of closely-knit people.

The ancestor works as a nanny taking care of the small children. She delights in the children and they love her. They are like an extended family. She and the children are readily accepted and become a part of the community. She has friends she loves. The children have friends and grow up feeling safe and loved.

When they are grown, both marry and stay in the community. They marry for love and are happy. All are happier, lighter, fulfilled. They have children who know and love their grandmother. Once they are grown, the ancestor meets a loving, kind, mellow partner who stays with her throughout her life. They are happy together. She feels supported, content, and full of life.

Her children, grandchildren, the other village children she cared for, and her partner surround her deathbed when she dies. Of this life she says: “God was great to her. She got more than what she wanted.”


  • The ancestor still made a bad first choice of husband. Why was it important this continue in the second life?
  • What is the importance of creating other loving relationships before making an intimate, loving commitment?
  • Could this life have been fulfilling if the ancestor had not met another partner later in life? Why or why not?
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