This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Family, past, present, and future

Every culture has a different attitude toward family members who have died. In the culture that I grew up in, we bury our dead, and if we speak about them again, we do so quietly. We visit cemeteries as if these people are sleeping. Courtesy dictates that we don't mention their names much, as if they were still alive, and we were "talking behind their back".

When I moved to the southwest, I found the culture relating to families, and even those who were no longer with us, was different. And over the years I have struggled to understand. And this is how I am thinking of my family. Death does not take them away from the family.

My having photos of "dead people" and going to cemeteries has made some of my family members uncomfortable. I can only imagine that they think that I have a ghoulish fascination with death. I don't. I have a fascination with life. And while I want to honor the culture that I grew up in, I have found myself leaning towards the attitudes of the people that I have met here in Arizona.

I have seen children playing during a visit to a cemetery. They laugh and run, unaware that they are supposed to stand still and remain quiet in the presence of death. But they see no death. They see their family all around them, they listen to stories of grandma and grandpa. Their extended families include not only uncles, aunts, and cousins, but those who have passed.

When you see family this way, the passing of time makes you think not only of what is now, but has been, and what will be. It is a time for tears, and tears of joy.

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