2018 …. The new year began with so many hopes, joys, heartbreak and opportunities. Change is inevitable, right? Yes, and always happening but some changes are just a lot to take and others are just noted without much emotion, and then there are the ones that you can recognize as “watershed moments” – those times when you have an earthquake hitting you and you know that you will never be the same again.
That’s the way December morphed into January – a new year, new opportunities and au revoir. A new year – filled with excitement about some new roles for me personally, Lineage Journeys as a company, and new opportunities – for both!
It’s not without some trepidation that I am wildly excited to be presenting at RootsTech 2018 AND the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan …. AND (very new information!) at the 2018 Northwest Genealogy Conference in Seattle, Washington. AND …. ::::::::drum role:::::::::: one of my presentations (You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Genealogy Tools) will be taped!!!! OMG!! Yes, I’m excited. Lots of new opportunities and a remodeled website, with subscriptions coming in (thank you to everyone who is interested!).
And then an “au revoir” – on Christmas morning, my cousin and godfather, Harold “Hal” Nimer, Jr. died suddenly as he was recovering from some back problems. He was recovering but then was suddenly gone. The genealogist-of-me could add another date to the family tree – Death Date. Sigh …. he was a sweet, caring, loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, cousin and, in the family’s Lutheran tradition, he was my Godfather. Memories rushed through my head of times spent mostly with his younger siblings as he was much older than me but his kind smile and loving ways, our recent breakfast together with his wife Judith and our cousin Lynda will now be the last memory of his long, successful life. Au revoir – until we meet again. He was buried on my birthday, December 29th. That’s a week I won’t forget. As a genealogist, it was a partly happy day as I got to spend time with Hal’s family, and all of Hal’s siblings (my cousins) were there and it was great to see them and talk about our happy memories as a family. Seeing Hal’s kids and their kids, I enjoyed meeting them as I only heard about them from the proud sharing of Hal and Judy. It was really good in that way and fostered lots of family history discussions and promises that we would all stay in touch. And we will – a gathering is planned for July this year.
And another “au revoir” – a spiritual teacher, adopted Sister (“Hunka Sister” in the Lakota tradition), Mary Elizabeth Thunder died on December 28th and her funeral wake, ceremony and burial were over four days in January in Texas. THAT was the “watershed moment”. In so many ways, it was a joyful reunion with friends from decades ago and the telling of funny, heart-felt, loving stories of challenges, fears, ceremonies, journeys and discoveries. We cried, sang, mourned, hugged each other and held the family in our prayers and hearts, and did what we all knew we had to do – create a beautiful, meaningful, carefully thought-out, ceremony releasing her to the ancestors. In the course of those days and since, the “watershed” was my recognition that there were things in my life that HAD to go, that were not providing growth, joy, love, or blessing but were contentious, nerve-wracking, negative and gut-wrenching. I could hear Thunder’s voice – “Make it beautiful. Live in beauty”. And so I made the choices that I needed to make and I’m continuing to make.
Lineage Journeys are those we make with our genetic family and our adopted or chosen family. We love them all and they enrich our lives.