Oblivion, noun: the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown; the state of being destroyed.
We encountered this word in the story The Shawl by Louise Erdrich. It’s used when the narrator talks about the challenges and hardships his people have endured, both from previous generations and from the current ones, and how the struggle of dealing with those pains can drive a person to ruin.
“Now, gradually, that term of despair has lifted somewhat and yielded up its survivors. But we still have sorrows that are passed to us from early generations, sorrows to handle in addition to our own, and cruelties lodged where we cannot forget them. We have the need to forget. We are always walking on oblivion’s edge.”