St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

An Orphan with Family Ties

".....The years will come and go, joys and sorrows will multiply upon us who shall tarry here
below, but the memory of this quiet beautiful life will linger in our hearts like some goodly dream, which grows softer and sweeter and more precious each time that we recall it........."

The words above were spoken by the Rev. Elijah R Donehoo at the 1884 funeral of Kate NEELY in Allegheny Co, PA. I love this quote and think of it often as I think of family and those who have gone.

Family is such an interesting word and can bring up all sorts of thoughts.

I always felt like I didn't have much family growing up. As my dad was in the military, we were stationed nowhere near either family. My thoughts as a child on family were that we visited them now and again and gifts would show up at Christmas. I don't remember the loving hugs of grandparents, as one died when I was four and the other had developed dementia by the time I became a teenager. I could never run down the street to see my grandparents, aunts or cousins. Somehow, I feel like I got left out in the cold.

My parents also died while I was a young adult, so I missed out on getting to really know them as an adult.(If only I could remember all those stories they told now!) My older siblings live far away and left home before I developed lots of memories about them. Therefore, I have felt as if I am an orphan of sorts.

But, I have so much family. The blood of my veins sings a brilliant song and calls out to others who share it. Through my genealogy research, I have come to know many distant cousins. It can be entertaining to see what traits we share and to hear stories from them. Their memories intertwine with mine as we sing our family song. Yes, we are family. Yes, we have history.

The memories of our loved ones stay with us. They bring us smiles, laughter and tears. They bring us solace as we cope with loss.

No longer an orphan, I'm now surrounded by family. The love, the memories, the joy and the sorrow are all there. And they do become sweeter with time.

My thought of the day is share the past with your family. Memories shouldn't be left alone. They should be shared so your children don't have the feelings of orphans with family ties.

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