Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Heading Home

In the west country, looking out the window on the train from Dublin
Tonight I am flying out to Ireland, leaving on a seven o'clock flight. Over the last while, plans which were so easy to put in place have been switched up by the living and the dying sides of life, but now everything is set and I am ready to go.

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
Sometimes it seems as though none of this matters. It seems as though it is all so much fluff, something to distract us from the end which awaits us. I find myself wondering, what is it we are looking for when we go in search of our ancestors?

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.

Dublin City
Perhaps you have an ancestor in mind who has been forgotten up to this point in time. Remember them. Write down their story and then tell that story to the world. The story does not have to involve wealth, fame or feats of daring do. Sometimes you will find the greatest heroism in the ordinary family life of people who survived, despite grinding poverty. The history books will not bear their names, that is why it is up to you to tell their story.

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.

Cheers,
Jennifer
The Long Walk, Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold's Cross, Dublin.

Copyright©irisheyesjg2012.
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12 comments:

  1. Have a wonderful visit back home, Jennifer. I look forward to reading about your trip, and especially anticipating more of your photographs of the many, varied scenes in Ireland.

    Your advice on returning the favor of random acts of genealogical kindness is well taken. We have all benefited from the help of others in this line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jacqi,

      Thank you for your good wishes; they are much appreciated.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  2. Bon voyage Jennifer and may it be the start of new beginnings after a difficult year. What do we hope to achieve from our research? As so often you've hit the pertinent question and answer: to recognise that they lived and leave a memorial of their lives, perhaps in the hope that by doing so we leave our own. Is it ultruistic? Not entirely I fear.

    As to RAOGK: project underway ;-)

    Safe travelling and happy discoveries. May the Emerald Isle shed its light upon you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pauleen,

      Thank you for your good wishes; they are much appreciated.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  3. You wrote:

    Value your life more.

    You do, and you remind me to as well.

    Thank you, safe voyage, may you find some peace in your beautiful Ireland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you my friend. It is my fondest hope to find there what I can no longer find here.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  4. What a bittersweet, tender post, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Nancy,

      Sorry to be so very late in thanking you for your comments. I really appreciate receiving them.

      Cheers,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  5. A beautiful and thought provoking post,Jennifer,thankyou. Enjoy your trip... Catherine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Catherine,

      Thank you for your good wishes. I am sorry to be so long in acknowledging them.

      Cheers to you,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  6. Another poignant post, Jennifer - thank you for the reminders. Safe trip home! Jo :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello Jo,

    Thank you for your lovely comments. I am sorry to be so late in saying thank you for them.

    Cheers,
    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete

Comments on this blog are always deeply appreciated; however, in the spirit of true collegiality, I ask that you do not write something you could not say to me in person.

There is a proliferation of SPAM on this blog, so unfortunately comments moderation must be in operation.

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Cheers, Jennifer

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