Over the past year, I’ve been reminded several times that we’re not promised anything in this life. This past year, I’ve lost my grandmother, we unexpectedly lost another family member and I’ve watched friends shaken as they lose someone they love as well. It makes you look at life a bit differently, and value each and every moment in your life. You stop bickering about things like dirty dishes on the counter instead of in the sink (or dishwasher), you don’t care if the socks always match and these foolish things don’t bother you any more. Why should they? You’re living your life, your enjoying the moments with the ones you love, and you are taking life by the reigns.
Since I was about ten years old, I’ve been the family historian. I sat down with my grandparents and mapped out the family trees the best we could with the information we had. In fits and starts I’ve worked on piecing together images and things we have to build a better family story. It may have been my grandfather’s death when I was seven that sparked this passion in me, but I’m not really sure what caused it. But as I’ve grown older, I gather and collect everything we can from both sides to build this story. It sounds like a weird thing for a child to become obsessed with, but I’ve never claimed to be normal. I take the lessons from our families past and use them in our lives and help pass that onto the next generation.
Last week, I went to my parents and searched for a stack of negatives and documents that were left behind by my grand parents and great grandparents to scan with a new high resolution scanner. The job will take me probably months to do preserve each of them, then to edit and clean them up digitally – but it’s a labor of love. As a kid, I was lucky enough to grow up with both sets of grandparents, a set of great grandparents and even great great aunts and uncles to help me build the family information. Their stories, their knowledge helped not only fill in the gaps on the family tree but give a voice to the family members who had passed before I was born.
I treasure the video of my mom and I sitting down with my Great Great Aunt Stena learning more about her life and her family. I treasure my memories with my grandparents that have since passed and the ones I’m still able to make with my Grandfather now. I treasure each moment with my parents, my boyfriend, my nephew and family. Because let’s face it everyone – we don’t know when our moment will be our last. Love with all of your heart, stand up for what you believe in and don’t let the trivial and foolish things get in your way.
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