Feted and Ensconced

I loathe funerals. The entire circus: viewing, service, graveyard sobbing while the casket lowers.

Not all people feel this way of course. Funerals tend to be great family reunions. Folks take pictures of the body in the coffin, selfies of themselves with the body and gather in groups for photos that resemble a cheerful event such as a fish fry or church picnic. I can’t count the number of times I asked my mom to identify a group of black and white people (yeah, I’m old) only to hear her reply “Oh, that was taken at Uncle Ollie’s funeral”. To name only one.

My (adopted) father’s funeral in 1978 was about as surreal an event as I’d ever encountered. The body in the coffin didn’t resemble the man I knew in the least and the Baptist preacher pressed into service had a speech impediment and called my father ‘Johnny’, which might have earned him a punch in the nose had the man himself not been dead as a doornail. The graveside service was where I finally woke to the fact that we were going to leave my father there, in the ground. I was the last to leave; the hardest thing I’d done so far in my short life.

I’ve not attended a funeral since and don’t intend to do so. When the inevitable happens I want a Viking send off – well, the cheap redneck version. Put me in a rowboat and push it off into the water armed with an explosive on a timer. Then forget about me because I’m long gone.

While I type this my birth father, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and loving these last three years, is having his funeral in another state. Hope they take good pictures of each other.

Gone

Mac
1972

My Dad is gone. At least I was able to meet him and have a loving relationship with him for a few years.

Remember: Rust never sleeps.

Siblings

Lisa, Tom, *me, Pat

So, my two sisters and one of my brothers decided to come see me – they flew in Thursday and left this morning. It’s slightly surreal, to suddenly have family.. but a very, very good thing because they’re wonderful people. Warm, friendly, accepting… just the best. I love Tom’s wife as well. She feels like another sister.

There are two brothers and my father to meet, so I’ll do that… sooner rather than later.

*We were rained on while at the beach, so I’m dorky looking and my hair was weird. Add a big mole and put me in the circus!

Father

My father Saturday after the Veteran’s Day ceremony.

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This man kills me. I hadn’t had a father since 1978, and suddenly, I did. My emotions are all over the place. When we speak on the phone I giggle like a 5 year old with a feather to her feet. When he writes sweet things in his emails I break down and cry!! I’d like to even off soon…

The Good and the Bad

This is going to be bad news for someone… or many someones…

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And the good? I’m going to meet my father in November!! We’re both pretty excited, as is Mike. He’ll be there too. It will take place in Galveston, since he’ll be there already and who doesn’t like a road trip?

No, no more panic attacks. 😉

New Sailor

tyam

And his sister. We watched the graduation live online, but couldn’t pick him out from the hundreds.

He looks a bit shell-shocked, doesn’t he? 😉

We’re very proud, obviously, and praying for only good things in his new career. ❤

James

This is our oldest grandson, James. He joined the Navy last week after a year of college. April 10th was coincidentally the day his grandfather reported to both his subs, one in 1964 and the other in ’65!

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He’s going for SEAL training and they’re sure he’ll get it. We couldn’t be prouder. But then we’ve always been proud of him. They’re getting the best we’ve got, believe me.

He’s almost 19 but when I think of him I can’t help but picture that chubby cheeked little munchkin he was as a toddler.  It was ever thus, eh?

And yes, I resisted the urge to post baby pictures… 😉

Down the Rabbit Hole

I’ve been researching my heritage… well, nearly all of my almost 60 years. Being adopted means being loved… but also facing a blank wall as far as ancestors go. Who were they? WHERE were they??

I always assumed mine had to be bank robbers and horse thieves.rabbit

Well, thank goodness for Ancestry. The DNA testing found my half-sister (she hasn’t been back to the site since October, so doesn’t know I messaged her in return. I wish the service would email if there’s a message!) and from there my family tree started, buoyed by other member’s family trees and documents.

I now know my father’s name, and surprise!, I’m not a bastard. My mom married him. Briefly.

And so far, through my maternal grandmother’s branch of the tree, I’ve been able to go as far back as Ireland, 1599. Now… I have to go over all this a million times before I really believe it… but the magnitude of it is kicking my butt. I have ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, the War of 1812, WWI and WWII. The phrase ‘Fighting Irish’ now holds new meaning.

Not horse thieves, this clan – O’Rourke – seemed to be leaders instead of wastrels.

Of course, other branches have led back to England. Nothing yet from Scandinavia, but maybe that’s my father’s side.

Here’s where the going gets sticky… a few times in documents I’ve read that my ancestors owned slaves. It was a kick in the gut. Seriously; one woman being willed to a surviving wife was called a ‘negro wench’ and upon reading that my lunch nearly came up.

No, I’ll not be paying reparations. No, I don’t feel guilty; I’ve never owned slaves and it’s been a damn long time since my family has. But it did put a damper on the joy of finally having a family tree.

 

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