Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Understanding the events and relationships that shape us – does it matter?

My mother died when I was four – went to live with an aunt – who died last week aged 87. At that age not a matter for grief really – more the celebration of a life – but the funeral stirred powerful memories – happy and sad. Do we ever understand the events and relationships that shape us – does it matter?
Like her mother before her, my aunt was a matriarch, in the old tradition. A private person with natural dignity she was wise – intelligent – a peacemaker. Her ‘life project’ was her family. Her strong Christian faith explained all of life – spiritual – social – material. Don’t think that she had any fear of death – or any doubt that she would rejoin her husband – parents – brothers.

Whenever I saw her I pressed for the oral history of our family – childhood stories. She told how once she smelt burning and rushed through to the bedroom I shared with her son – to find that we had lit a roaring fire in the middle of the carpet and were running in and out with glasses of water ‘playing fire engines’.

Last month at a family first communion I sat next to my aunt – lucid, responsive, stoical – but physically spent. As we parted I said, “See you at Carlo’s in September” – she looked at me deliberately – gently. “I don’t think so son.”

My aunt loved a laugh – would have appreciated this monologue about death by comedian George Carlin. See also end piece.

George Carlin’s Theory on Life and Death

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes allot of your time. And what do we get at the end of it? Death! What’s that…a bonus? I think the life cycle is backwards. You should die first and get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young. You get your first gold watch. You go to work. You work forty years or until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol – you party. You get ready for High School. You go to Grade School. You go back into the womb spend 9 months floating… and finish off as an orgasm!


Did you like this? Share it:
Some Text