O is for Obituary

Family Search has declared 2014 the Year of the Obituary! Follow the link for videos, blog posts and other useful information on getting the most from obituaries.

[This is also a plug asking for volunteers to do indexing on these obituaries to make them available for searching. Indexing is a very rewarding activity and provides a great service to everyone interested in tracing their ancestry. To find out more, go to https://familysearch.org/indexing/]

If you are fortunate to find an extensive obituary, you can learn things like who were the parents of the deceased, names of all living family members, where the person is buried, and a glimpse into his or her life and interests.

Here’s a creative writing assignment: write your own obituary–What would you like others to know about you after you are gone?

Family Vignette–O! Tannenbaum!

My husband put in 24 years in the U.S. Army, and throughout all that time, although we had the occasional TDY separation and “war games” exercises that kept us apart for short periods, we only experienced one wartime separation. We were stationed in Heidelberg, Germany and Desert Storm began in Iraq. Rich was notified on a Thursday evening that he would be deploying and he was gone by the next Monday; which was the Monday before Thanksgiving. He was gone for the next 5+ months, with only sporadic phone calls of 3 minutes duration. Christmas loomed ahead of me as I tried to make it special for my 4 children with their Dad gone. We mailed him a small paper Christmas tree and made a plan to “meet” on Christmas Eve. At the designated time (we synchronized our watches!) my children and I went out on our small balcony overlooking the residential street in our German community of Reilingen, held hands, looked up at the stars, and began singing Christmas carols: Joy to the World!, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing!, O, Little Town of Bethlehem…ending with a tear-choked version of Silent Night, knowing that our husband/dad was also looking up at those same stars and singing those same songs “with” us. [Later, he confessed that at first, he felt a bit foolish standing out in the desert singing all by himself, and he got a few strange looks from fellow soldiers, but he quickly got into the spirit, felt our love, and was moved to sing with great feeling.]

Now, almost 24 years/Christmases later, with my children grown with children of their own, that is by far the most memorable Christmas we have all experienced. Ever. We felt peace. We felt love. We knew he would be protected and returned to us safely. It was the best of times.

This post is part of the 2014 A-Z Challenge

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About Gail

Genealogist, librarian, traveler, runner, grandma, Mormon, Missionary
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Family, Favorites, Genealogy & Family History, Good Old Days, Half-full, Spirituality, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to O is for Obituary

  1. melinda says:

    This one really got to me. I’ve spent time on the phone with absent loved ones, admiring the moon and marveling that we were both looking at it at once–it made us feel closer–but your story is much, much more poignant than that. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Aditi says:

    Awww…wow…I loved this Christmas story! So heartening! Hugs 🙂

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