It’s A Family Affair

Heritage, ancestors, family

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In 1977 I was intrigued by the story and genealogy of the family of Alex Haley that was depicted in the movie “Roots.” As one gets older, you wonder about the ancestors you never met and their stories.

Family, ancestory,

Image source: Family History Daily

Nowadays, we are finding more people who are interested in finding out about their ancestral tree who are leaving a written account of their footprint. We are seeing more biographies and memoirs written that tell of the journey about that author, their highs and lows, the lessons they learned and the stories they will pass on to inform the generations that follow. Now there are countless resources to help you with your journey to discover the branches of your family tree.

Family, ancestors

Image Credit: Irish Central

I am now my parent’s generation. While there is no written account of the lives of my ancestors, only oral stories that started out with renowned griots in the family, historical accounts that were once difficult to compile are now being explored like an archeological expedition. Now, after having a lengthy conversation with my mother back in 1992, one that I should have continued before her passing, I am compiling information from that conversation along with valuable information from some of my cousins and other methods of archival research. I’m trying to pull together information about these people whose DNA we share and fit the pieces of the puzzle together as accurately as I can. For if it wasn’t for them, we would not be.

The one thing I regret is not sitting down and having more conversations with my parents and other family members to piece together the path of where our ancestors marched from then and now to me. Whether it’s HIStory or HERstory, learn about YOUR story by finding your roots.

Sharing Special Moments on National Siblings Day

Sisters, National Siblings Day

Today is National Siblings Day (also referred to as Sibling Day). If your sibling is identified as one of the following: sisters, brothers, step sisters, step brothers, half sisters, half brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles or good friends that you consider a sibling, then send an extra shout-out to them. 
brothers, National Siblings Day

Sibling Day is celebrated annually on April 10, although we do not need a designated time to reach out and share some heartwarming moments with our siblings. Yeah, we may argue and fight from time to time, getting on each other’s nerves, but those are memories we eventually laugh about and then move on.

twins, National Siblings Day

So pull out those photo albums and videos, smile and remember. If you have a sibling(s) who is no longer with you, light a special candle today, pull out a picture of them and/or simply write their name on a piece of paper, smile and remember.

National Siblings Day , sisters

Here’s a toast to another reason for us to celebrate our siblings on #NationalSiblingsDay

Reflections: The End of An Era

From Behind the Pen, Legacies

Susanna Pollins Glaze

Yesterday as our family gathered to eulogize the last remaining sibling of my mother, it was a hot, sunny emotional day of melancholy, tears and some stark epiphanies in Beaufort, South Carolina. For many of us it made us reflect on the value of our purpose and existence through every breath we take each day. A few weeks ago, when I wrote the blogpost “Funerals: The New Family Reunion” after the burial of one of my first cousins, I once again experienced another “Oops Upside Your Head” (The Gap Band) moment that clearly laid out what was really happening on this day. A great era on my maternal side of the family came to an end.

My aunt, Susanna Pollins Glaze, transitioned at the age of 93, and was the longest living sibling of 14 children. What’s more inspiring and astonishing is the fact that she was married to my uncle Walter for 75 years! Seventy-five years! That’s the kind of love that truly lasts through the test of time. Aunt Susie and Uncle Walter really raised the bar for all of us. Their house was the unofficial anchor for our family, friends and acquaintances. You went there for food, laughs, food, serious talk, food, food and more food! I’m sure many of you can relate.

Now my mother could throw down cooking, but my Aunt Susie “put her foot in it” as we would say. There was always more than enough to eat and no matter who walked through the doors of her and Uncle Walter’s house, they wouldn’t leave on an empty stomach, and would leave feeling uplifted and happy. There is so much more I can say about her, but that would probably take months of writing my personal memories about how much she meant to all of us. Additionally, she was the surrogate matriarch for all of us who lost our mothers throughout former years.

As I sat in the church, listening to the eulogy and remarks made about the impact she made on so many, many lives…even beyond her family, flashbacks of my mother, her sisters and brothers who have long since passed away, reminds me that I too am standing on the shoulders of a strong legacy. I have a responsibility along with the rest of my cousins to strengthen our era, just as our parents strengthened theirs for us.

So amid the tears, there is a breath of freshness I inhale to allow my sadness to turn into unspeakable joy. Through that joy, I must ask myself, am I doing all that God put me here to do in order to make at least a fraction of the impact this woman I call Aunt Susie, and all of my other aunts and uncles made during their lifetime? That’s a question I ask God every single day, so that I can be wiser and do better.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (KJV)

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

Do you reflect on life and recognize when it’s your turn to run and shine, as the baton from one generation is passed on to you? One era ends, but that’s just the beginning of the next one.

Today is National Cousin’s Day

National Cousin's Day, Family, Cousins, From Behind the Pen
National Cousin’s Day is celebrated each year on July 24. This day is another special day to let all of your cousins, those near and far, know how much you appreciate them. Take a moment to either call your cousins, text them, send a card or find a creative way to let them know you are thinking about them, whether they are a first, second, third or cousin twice removed! Use #CousinsDay on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts. If you are not yet connected to your cousins on social media, be sure to follow each other. This shows your support, love and ongoing connection. On your social media posts, use #CousinsDay.

To all of my cousins here and abroad, Happy Cousin’s Day! We are indeed a colorful group!