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Posts Tagged ‘personal’

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Back in May when my sister and I were going through our Mom’s things, I found the box (above) in an old footlocker.  There isn’t a footlocker, crate, or box that can keep me out when I think there might be a treasure inside.  So I opened the box.

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Inside there was something wrapped in tissue paper.  And I glimpsed something pink as well.  Obviously it was something very fragile or old that needed to be kept insulated somehow.  So then I unwrapped the treasure.

P9100722It was a very small bonnet.  I exclaimed to those who were around me that I bet it had been Mom’s baby sister’s.  Would there be more clues beneath the tissue paper in the bottom of the box?

 

P9100723Yes!  A calendar!  And not just any calendar.  It was from 1927.  The year my grandparents’ youngest daughter, Lois Evelyn, was born – and died.

As I carefully perused the calendar, I saw my grandmother’s handwritten notes on different dates.  What unfolded was truly heartbreaking.

To Be Continued in The Calendar

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A New Leaf

One reason posts have been few & far between lately is because we were expecting a new little leaf on our family tree!  Time to be a Nana for the 4th time!  The little guy made his entrance early in the week and my daughter did pretty good!  This was her first child and our fourth grandson!  I would like to introduce Orion to you!

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And the really neat part . . .  He was born on my late mother’s birthday!  Do you think his Great-Grammy would have been pleased?

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My Thoughts On 9/11

On my personal web page I wrote a Tribute to those whose lives were touched and changed on September 11, 2001. I then wrote a follow-up (which I added at the beginning of the page) in 2006. I won’t repeat that post here – but if you want to read, feel free.

And let us all remember those events which have now come to shape our lives in every thing we do.  Let us remember how we gained our freedom over 200 years ago and why we will always fight for that.  Whether we agree or disagree on politics, philosophy, or anything else – we must always remember we are AMERICANS – first and foremost! And we will not hand ANY terrorist our freedom.

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Over the last several months, I’ve found myself in a similar position as that of my ancestors prior to me.  The reality that a loved one’s life will be ending.  Of course we all know that death will be the final outcome for all of us and for all of those we love, and when it is an expected death, we generally have the knowledge we can say our good-byes and have one last visit.  The expectation is still very difficult to face as we begin to second guess the doctors’ treatments, the guilt of not being there more often, or for not having more control over everything.

Guilt usually plays a larger part than we like to think it does.  Should I have called more?  Should I have tried to visit more often?  Should I have made sure all the final arrangements were made?  Should I have made sure all the legalities were addressed?  How long do the questions continue?  For what length of time should I dwell on the negative?

Not wanting to seem unfeeling or cold or that it didn’t matter, I had to put the guilt aside almost immediately after my mother’s death.  I chose to live 900 miles away.  I did call every day.  I couldn’t have taken a more active role in her health care unless I had lived closer.  Now, the legal stuff – well that’s another question altogether.

Thanks to my sister (especially), my mother was able to die at home – just where she wanted to be.  She did not linger on for days and days – something she truly did not want.  She had her family at her side – obviously what she wanted.  And she wasn’t in any pain and was very peaceful – something she had hoped.

Knowing death is imminent and being there when it happens, is two very different things.  However, we were able to rejoice that she was no longer suffering; no longer fighting to hang on to life where the quality had decreased; no longer frightened of death.  As Christians, we know she is with our Lord and Savior, and is now one of our many Guardian Angels who has gone on before us.

I have extended my sympathies to others who have lost a parent.  I have dealt with the loss of a sibling.  Yet, until the loss of a parent happens to you, there is no amount of empathy you can have – because you have not felt that pain or loss.  It has been almost two months since my mother passed away.  I miss talking to her each day.  I want to tell her about my daughter’s new home, the heat we are experiencing, or how ridiculous I’m discovering the legal system can be – but I can’t do that in person anymore.  I really am okay – even though some have told me that I’m not okay.  I know where Mom has gone, and I know she is with me each day.  I know she’s in a much better place.  Will I miss her for the rest of my life?  Of course I will.  But being okay is what she would have wanted for her family.

I owe my mother thanks for the courage I have found in the face of her death.  Due to the strength she had modeled for me amidst the storms life had thrown at her over her lifetime, I found my own strength to prepare for and move forward at the time of this crisis.

Coming: The Journey (Part 2)

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Sneak Peak

As most of you have learned, I recently returned home after being away for over a month.  I had gone to Ohio for a week over Easter while my mother was in the hospital and returned the end of April just before she passed away.  I spent most of May cleaning out her home and trying to make sense of what she had kept for so many years.

I wrote many months ago about some of the treasures I had come across early in my genealogy quest – letters my grandparents wrote to each other, old photos, and more.  And I incorrectly assumed there wouldn’t be much more to add – boy was I wrong!

Not only did I find more old photos, but I found my grandparents’ framed marriage certificate that had hung on their bedroom wall most of my growing up years, as well as marriage certificates of my great-grandparents!  It will take me quite a while to go through all the documents I discovered not to mention the hours of scanning that will be involved.

First, I must clean out my own clutter.  I’ve made a head start on that – but have much more to do before I feel that I’ve accomplished the goals I’ve set for myself.  And due to that reason, I’ll be slow to post some of my exciting finds.

I also want to write a multi-part post about my recent experiences as I navigated the whole death, dying, saying good-bye, final preparations, and the Ohio legal system.  Stay tuned – and thanks for sticking around!

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I’m Back

Thanks to all my Faithful Readers who have continued to check in regularly on this blog.  I’ve been out of state for a month and a half dealing with my mother’s recent death and taking care of things.  It will be awhile before I get back to posting regularly but I wanted to let you all know where I’ve been. 

And to all the “newbie” readers who have found my blog in the last month or so  – thanks for the comments!

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In honor of my aunt’s upcoming birthday, I wanted to pay her a tribute.  My dad’s sister will be celebrating her 100th birthday soon!  Since she is still living I won’t post many vitals in order to maintain some privacy. 

I haven’t seen her since the early 1970′s yet she was a constant in my life as a young child.  She was my favorite aunt – being as I only knew two out of three of my aunts.  My mother’s sister had passed away a few years before I was born, and my dad’s oldest sister just seemed “older”.  Aunt “M” was always giving puppet shows to the kids during family reunions and get-togethers.  She seemed to really enjoy the young ones.  Not only did she visit us when there wasn’t a reunion to attend, but we went to visit her in Pennsylvania once.  One of my daughters’ middle name is in honor of her.

Aunt “M” was very active in the Salvation Army and attended the college in New York as a young woman.  She rose to the rank of Major as time progressed. 

When I began this genealogy quest ten years ago, she was one of the first relatives to respond to my many questions and letters.  She even called several times – to a niece that she hadn’t seen in many, many years.  I still keep in contact with her daughter through email and Christmas cards and get updates on Aunt “M”. 

Happy Birthday! 

So who is your oldest living relative?

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During my most recent visit to Ohio, I came across some old address books.  One appeared to have belonged to my mother from eons ago and the other was my grandparents’ that she kept after they passed away. 

I learned a few things by thumbing through the pages of these books.  The first was that my grandfather was a very meticulous person.  He actually typed up addresses and pasted them in at the correct spots alphabetically.  When someone died, he would cross out their name and mark “Decased” along with a date.  That only helps me when it was a relative yet it gets me wondering how my grandparents felt each time a long-time friend or a relative died.  There it was in black and white (and sometimes red pencil) – subtracting each friend from their life – through the pages of an address book.

Another thing I learned was that my grandfather actually had addresses for relatives I wasn’t sure he had ever met.  I was unsure if he had met his Aunt Rachel’s family until I saw names and addresses listed.  At the very least they corresponded once a year with a Christmas card. 

My mother’s old address book was a little different.  Not many addresses were marked through with “Deceased” but because of the person moving to a new residence.  That was a big difference between the two books.  Most of the people my grandparents knew stayed in the same place and the only changes were either closer to a child or to a nursing home as they aged or to sunny places such as Florida, California or Arizona.  The people my mother tracked moved due to military service, new job offers, a change of scenery, etc. 

Isn’t it amazing what a few pages from address books can tell you?  Not only about the people written in the pages but the person who kept up with it?

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I almost missed it!  One year ago yesterday I began my genea-blog journey.  I’ve met many wonderful genealogists and historians along the way and learned some valuable researching points.  I’ve had over 12,000 visits and written 269 posts and had 276 comments left.

Thanks to all of you – my faithful readers and those who are just stopping by for the first time!

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Still Not Really Back

Sorry – said I was going to start posting again but that won’t be happening soon.  There is a major family health crisis that took me out of state for over a week.  I’m trying to play catch up and figure out what normal really is.  I did bring back with me some interesting objects – what looks like charcoal drawings or something of some of my ancestors that I did not even know existed.  Too big to scan – will have to photograph them.  But that won’t be for awhile.  I ask for all the prayers directed toward my loved one – for their comfort in this difficult time. 

Thanks to all of you –  my faithful readers and friends – for your continued patience.

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