Thursday, October 4, 2012
I just had another birthday last week and I find myself starting to get a little more restless as time goes by. It is not the age that bothers me so much but more like the lack of time I have left that gets to me a little more every year.
I blame it on too many episodes of "Who Do You Think You Are?" but I have totally gotten hooked on tracing my roots to the point that I actually contacted my oldest living relative to find out some information that the countless hours on the computer just couldn't give me.
I hadn't talked to my uncle in years....seventeen years to be exact. He was not particularly close to us and I had really only seen him a handful of times in my whole life. I would describe my father's relationship with him to be more courteous than brotherly. Always respectful but lacking emotion. However, my intention was not to delve into issues that were probably not even my place to try and understand nor to try and form a bond with him that I never had. I just really wanted to finish what I had started with my research.
So, I overcame the potential awkwardness to pick the brain of an 88 year old man not knowing what kind of reception I would get. To my surprise, he was not only receptive but actually seemed pleased to hear from me and also wanted to see me in person.
I agreed to meet him and we both drove halfway and spent a weekend together in Savannah. He brought a box of old letters oozing with all the information I wanted and I brought my laptop and showed him all of the research I had done. Sitting there together, there was no awkwardness and I saw a softer side of him I had never seen as he reminisced about the past and even my father. I thought to myself about how I wished I could have seen this in him before now and what would my dad think of all of this if he was still around?
Seeing him gave me a renewed sense of accomplishment in finding out even more about my family and I decided to travel even further to visit a couple of graveyards before I turned for home. Some I had been to before and some I had never seen.
When you start doing genealogy, you become so familiar with the names, places, and dates on the pages and the letters my uncle had given me had opened up a new dimension to these ancestors. It gave me a glimpse of their personalities, interests, and relationships through their own words. So, to stand in their final resting places truly was like ending a beautiful journey with people I felt like I had actually gotten to know.
So, I sit here before you as I am half way through my own life and wondering what stories people will tell about me? Is it things that have already happened or memories that have yet to be formed?
Hence, the restlessness I am starting to feel. Has my life had enough purpose? Will I utilize the time I have left or waste it away? Maybe I think too much and that is what people will say most about me someday!
What do you hope to be remembered most for or what words do you think will be used to describe you best?
Photo credit: I took this photo of one of our family plots in South Carolina. I loved the gate you had to use to enter the space and the feeling of peace I felt once I walked through it.