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.

A celebration of life, and acceptance of death


I love looking at old photos, especially of my relatives, and imagining their lives. I have meticulously written down every piece of information that I could find, collected every photo I could. I've had the photos upon the wall over my piano for almost twenty years, and up on the internet for almost as long.

But it has worried some people. I want to try to explain that these aren't just pictures of dead people, the fact that they're dead is a trivial point. This is my family, and death doesn't change that.

I was raised in a culture that doesn't speak of death. Cemeteries are for Halloween, death is for the horror effect. When someone dies, it's appropriate, in my culture, to just move on. It's not as extreme as in some cultures, for which it's taboo to even speak the name of the dead, but death is to be seen as an end. Maybe they went to heaven, or something.

When I moved to Phoenix, I was introduced to a culture that was very different from my own, through my Hispanic friends. And yes, it's a culture of family, but it also includes family that are no longer living. I have to admit that I found it kinda creepy that these people would visit graves often, sometimes even have picnics at cemeteries. In the culture that I was raised in, we would visit graves only in a sad and sombre mood, with tears because of death. To visit the dead with joy seems like a sacrilege.

So no, I'm not trying to get my dead relatives on the Ouija board. I don't have my great-grand-uncle's skull in my garage. I don't hang around cemeteries waiting for a ghost to rise up out of the ground. And for people who see only this, I feel sadness.

There's a wonderful feeling of connection here, as if someone could live forever as long as they have a heart to live in.
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