Thursday, June 6, 2013

Family is family, no matter how distant

I had lunch with two of my maternal grandmother's first cousin Myrtle's great granddaughters and one of her great great granddaughters. It's the first time we met. And I owe it all to my grandmother. How I wish she had been there so I could have seen her expression when she first saw them. I knew they were related to us in a heartbeat!

It always amazes me how cousins, third and fourth cousins, can look so much alike or have similar mannerisms. I felt right at home with Pat, Tina and Emily. It was almost as if I'd known them all of my life.

As we visited and shared stories, I couldn't help but notice Pat pursing her lips, just like my grandmother, her daughters, her great niece Barb and yes, even I do.

I got so tickled at Emily when she rolled her eyes at her Mom (Tina), and then quickly looked down in total innocence. I've seen my Mom and Aunt Ethel do that to my grandmother. I know I did it to my Mom and so did Cindy. I see others roll their eyes, but they don't usually drop their eyes to the floor right afterwards.

And when we were leaving, Pat went over to talk to one of her friends. She had her back to us, and if I hadn't known that my Mom wasn't there, I would have sworn she was. Pat's stance and the way she moved her head and hands when she talked to her friends was 100% Mom.

I've made progress on the promise I made to my grandmother oh so many years ago to reconnect with her father's family. I know they lost touch when he moved away and that she wished she had known her first cousins.

She set me out on this quest, and I thank her for that. I wish she were here so I could thank her in person. I know in my heart that she is following my journey from the other side. I'm not sure why she asked me, out of all of her grandchildren to do this. Maybe she asked the others, and they either don't remember or aren't that interested. Who knows? Well, grandmother knows. I know that a couple of my cousins are interested and do research once in a while. Now if they would only share their information instead of telling me "Oh, I already knew that." when I send them updates on my research! Grr!

Maybe she knew that out of all of her grandchildren, I would be the one who needed to connect with family, even distant cousins. Maybe she knew that I would take her request seriously and keep chipping away at the brick walls until I could find a loose brick that would lead to a long hidden document or photograph that gave me another clue in my quest to reconnect with my great grandfather's family.

Speaking of which, it's time for me to close. I'd love to hear your stories of reconnecting with long lost relatives.

And now, I'm off to continue uprooting the family tree!

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