22 December 2012

Angels Among Us

On January 1st my granddaughter Addie will have her birthday. Her mother, my daughter Rachel, was killed in a car accident 7 years ago. I just celebrated Rachel's birthday this month. Celebrated without her. Most of us who have lost loved ones have trouble getting through the holidays without sadness tempering the joy we may also feel. My thoughts turn to Rachel and to her two daughters often during this time. When Rachel's husband re-married we lost those two dear little granddaughters as well as their mother. The new mother did not want us in their lives.

I think of Addie, who will soon turn 11, and I wonder if she remembers her mother or her mother's family, all of whom adored her. How could she know how loved she is by people she no longer knows? Little Elizabeth, her younger sister, remembers nothing of us, I'm sure. But I remember them. I pray for them and I think about their lives and I hope they are happy and healthy and that their family is all they could need or want. Addie and Elizabeth also have uncles, aunts and cousins who feel the same way about them.

I know their mother Rachel still loves and remembers her girls too. So must my mother, long deceased. And my grandmother, who kept meticulous track of all her descendants and their birthdays. I do not doubt that Grandma still remembers each of our birthdays, including Addie's in just a few days now. Rachel named Addie for a great-grandmother, my husband's mother, who is also now in heaven. How could that grandma have forgotten or quit being interested in her little namesake?

Yet we are all strangers to Addie and Elizabeth right now. Some of us are here and some gone beyond, but we remember and still love those dear ones. It's not much of a stretch for my imagination to believe there are many grandmas and grandpas that I neither know nor remember, who despite my inadequate knowledge, know and care about me. I want to know more about these people. I am curious and even more than curious, interested, and even more, I care about those ancestors of mine. I wonder about my great and many-times-great uncles, aunts and cousins.  I imagine them also interested in me and in my life events, just out of sight, yet concerned for my welfare, my well-being.

This is the season of angels. We sing about them and read of the part they played in the Christmas story so long ago. This year we also have heard about angel teachers, school administrators and first-responders. We mourn those young angels added to the heavenly choirs from the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Like Mary, I am pondering these things in my heart. But one thing I know. There is more to life than what we see and hear with mortal eyes and ears. There is more than I know or understand. I know that because I have a granddaughter named Addie who will soon be 11. She will celebrate her birthday with her mother and father and little sister and never think of me at all. But I will think about her. And so will angels that I know and many that I don't know. Yet.


  1. My heart goes out to you. I wish you peace and comforting for Christmas.

  2. I'm so sorry you're missing the interaction with your granddaughters. It must be such a sorrow to know that they're here (on earth) and yet you can't interact with them.

    Amen to the rest of this post!

  3. A beautifully written and moving post. As Nana to a little granddaughter, I cannot comprehend her not being a part of my life, and I feel for you so much.

  4. Thanks so much Ruth, Nancy and Sue. I love the fact that researching and writing about our family history broadens our perspective and makes hard things just a part of the whole picture.