These last few weeks have brought me face-to-face with the seasonal encounters with the Ancestors (more than seasonal these days, but let that pass). There are offerings in the usual places and the appropriate altars have been refreshed, dusted, rearranged.
As is my habit, I’ve brought out my genealogy research and poked around on-line a bit, adding to my knowledge of where I’ve come from, who I’ve come from.
I’ve been amazed that family members who were born in 1812 were still alive at the very beginning of the 20th century. I’ve grieved over those lamb-bedizened gravestones and the tiny bones that once–still?–lay beneath them.
A cousin barely older than I became an Ancestor last week and my cousin Dena and I went down to be with the family for a few hours. And then I found out something else.
We are becoming the Elders–the keepers of the family stories, for good or ill. We are the ones now who are asked about great-great grands and their lives and times. We have become our mothers and our grandmothers.
Now we will keep, for a time, the little flames of continuity that bind families and kindred together. It seems like such an enormous undertaking to me. I wonder what stories I’ve forgotten, what little dramas will be lost forever if I do not hold them close and share them out.