Genealogy friends can be golden! This was illustrated recently when one of my genealogy friends in her mid-70s was diagnosed with a malignant brain mass. The onset of events was sudden and very unexpected. In another case, the young son of another genealogy friend is undergoing treatment for cancer, not always with the desired results. There have been many delays and set-backs.
What has touched me is how peaceful my older friend is, accepting of her own death if that is the result of her brain tumor. She has told many of us good-bye, a message she needs to say, but which is not always easy for us to receive. I hope I can be present to her and there for as much as she needs me. Life has not dealt this friend a particularly easy hand. Yet through all she has experienced, she seems to hold no bitterness nor resentment. What an outstanding example she is! (And a good reminder to count my blessings rather than be irritated by life’s petty annoyances.)
The mother of the son with cancer is so appreciative of the kindness of others who have reached out to her family. She and her husband find deep solace in their faith community, but even so, their life has been thrown into many unpredictable and unplanned occurrences. And what an example of empathy I witnessed, when this mother, dealing with her own grave concerns, went to visit my friend with the brain tumor. It is this act of reaching-out in kindness that has really been impressive.
Some days ago, I was almost over-whelmed with what these two families are facing. And what should be a wonderful therapy but a previously scheduled genealogy tour of the county recorder’s office. This was a field trip to conclude a genealogy class I had helped teach. It was restorative therapy to help others learn more about their ancestry, and then to be able to discuss some of their questions.
In the midst of some sorrow and tough times, it was an exercise in genealogy that provided the needed tonic.