Today, September 27th, we celebrate Ancestor Appreciation Day and the memories of those who both came and went before us. This is a day for us to reflect on our ancestors, learn more about them and the ways in which they influenced each of our lives. This is a day for us to learn about and appreciate our forebears, a day to express gratitude for our personal existence, and a time to pause for solemn reflection. Those from whom we are descended should be remembered.
Since I am an avid genealogist and always interested in anything about my ancestors, I'm glad to hear there is such a day. Perhaps others will be inspired to look into their past, to learn about the beloved ancestors who forged the way for us to be born. I usually places what photos I have of them on my altar, light candles, and say a prayer of remembrance. Afterwards, I spend some time visiting grave sites on Findagrave and working on my Family Tree which one day I hope to have published as a legacy to those who will follow me.
When I look at all the old pictures, of which, thanks to a fire, there are only a few, I reflect on their lives, their struggles for survival during hardships and wars. I am part of all of them. I am who I am because of them My grandparents have long since passed, about 40 years ago, and even my parents are now gone. An only child, it makes me sad that I was not interested in their lives when they were still alive. If only I had questioned....
That is why I really want to encourage everyone to find out about your ancestors now. Visit those who are still living, and take the time to listen, really listen to their way back then stories. You might be surprised what you learn. Start a family tree to leave as a legacy to your own children and grandchildren. Write down all the information you have on them--names, dates of birth and death, where they were born and died. Add photos if you have them, and include stories to really make them come alive. Don't be afraid to put your tree online. When I first started out with my tree, I thought that I was alone...and then, I began hearing from them, those cousins from around the world that I never knew existed.
In closing, I would once again love to share with you my ultra-favorite poem.
Neglected and alone.
The name and dates are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.