|In the west country, looking out the window on the train from Dublin|
As I write this, I reflect upon how much life has changed since I travelled to Ireland last August, and how much my family has lost this year. We have spent far too much time standing by the bedside of someone we love, counting down to that last breath of life which tells us we are being left behind.
On the corner of my desk one of my mom's favorite scarves envelopes the red tennis ball that our sweet Sarah used to love to chase. Next to it sit two sets of rosary beads, one I brought from Ireland for my mom years ago, and one I held as a seven year old making my first holy communion. It is a little tableau of life which once was, and is no more.
|Croagh Patrick: St. Patrick's Mountain, County Mayo|
I believe we are searching for ourselves among the ruins of old homesteads and piles of documentary evidence. We are searching for that marker which says, 'yes', your people have been planted on this earth for a very long time, they mattered and you matter now.
In the film The Hours, when asked why someone has to die in her novel 'Mrs. Dalloway', Virginia Woolf (as portrayed by Nicole Kidman) replies, 'In order that the rest of us might value life more'.
Are those of us who have been left behind valuing our lives more? Are we living the way we want to live, and doing what we want to do? Are we doing our level best to seek and to find, and to hold in remembrance those who have gone before us?
Yes, all serious questions, but worth contemplating I believe.
Some of you have entrusted me with the task of finding some things for you on this trip, and I want to sincerely thank you for your faith in me. I will do my best.
In return I ask that you take the time now to engage in a random act of kindness, genealogical or otherwise. If you are able, offer to help out someone who has sought help. Perhaps they are struggling with their research, or things just aren't clicking for them, and you could be the difference for them. Maybe they write a blog and just need a little encouragement.
Life isn't perfect. No matter how great someone's life might seem from the outside, little do we know how it looks from the inside. We all face challenges, and we only have each other, so add a little encouragement along the way.
Value your life more.
Until we meet again.
|The Long Walk, Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold's Cross, Dublin.|
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