Recently my uncle passes away. We were not necessarily very close and I had not seen him in years because the family has spread out all over the United States, literally from coast to coast. And even though I have not seen my cousins, aunts, and uncles in many years, we stay in touch and keep each other up-to-date through Facebook.
I was not able to attend the funeral because of the short notice and the location and I was disappointed. I realized how old we are all getting as a family, and it occurred to me that this was the first set of my cousins to have lost both of their parents–my aunt, had passed away almost 12 years earlier. This realization hit me pretty hard. What if it had been my mother or father, or both? I started to really think about the fact that my parents are aging, whether I recognize it or not. I may still see them in the same way that I always have, and they may still see me like a child, but the reality is that we are all getting older and I need to start preparing for the eventuality that my parents will be gone someday. I didn’t like this feeling one bit.
The saying goes that when someone dies a new life begins, and I can say that this has brought new life to me. It spurred me to continue with a family genealogy project I started many years ago. I have been working on this project again, little by little, over the last several months and have expanded it to over 500 people. I have connected my family tree to other trees within the network and have found more information on-line than ever before. So, while the family suffered a loss, working on the family genealogy has given me a sense of purpose, a new appreciation for life, and a new appreciation for my family.