Well, it’s happening . . .

Back in January, I posted a tribute to my grandfather (my mother’s dad). He was 97 then, and is 98 now. I said in that post that it seemed like he was starting to say farewell to everyone.

I got a call today (actually 3 of them) that he is starting to die. The doctors didn’t expect him to make it through the night.

So, I’m probably not going to get much of anything productive done the rest of this week. We’re not sure if we can go to the funeral or not, it all depends on when it is. If it’s Friday or after, we’ll go.

So, the whole family (by now) is on a “death watch”. Some of my relatives are already heading for Emporia, KS. Others are waiting for the funeral, like we are. But, with 9 kids, around 35 grandkids, and Gods-only-know how many great-grandkids (possibly even some great-great-grandkids) – well, Emporia is about to get inundated by a McGill Clan flood.

UPDATE: At about 12:30 am, 11/29/2006, A. E. McGill passed away. There goes my week.


3 thoughts on “Well, it’s happening . . .

  1. It sounds as if he lived a long and good life, and left at a time of his choosing. That is something to celebrate. But, even when it’s expected, something like this can still feel like a profound loss.

    While the clan is gathered, may I suggest that you get a “guest book” or something, to record everyone’s names & current contact info? Take lots of photos, too. As someone who pursues genealogy, I’m very aware of the importance of family gatherings.

    Here’s another idea, rather than the semi-aimless feeling that people have when the funeral is over: At whatever spot the family is gathering, put up a memory board. That is, a big bulletin board (or something like it) with photos of your grandfather; leave a big area empty as well. Next to the board, have a stack of paper (wide-lined notebook paper and blank printer paper are good), writing implements, and push pins. Encourage people to jot down their best/earliest memories of your grandfather, and post them on the board for others to enjoy.

    Afterwards, collect the stories and photos, scan them, and make a PDF that everyone in the family can download. (This is another good reason to have everyone’s contact info, especially email addresses.)

    That can provide a happy and tangible closure to your grandfather’s life, too. If he’s hanging around, he’ll see that he’s fondly remembered and can let go of this life, to pursue whatever’s next.

    This is also an important time to gather stories (a voice recorder is useful) from the oldest living family members. Find out the names of their parents, where they were born, and so on. Go back on each family line as far as you can. Places are always more important than dates; genealogists can always search all the likely records in a particular place. It’s far more difficult if you have a date… but you’re not sure which state/county/town records to look in.

    Hmmm… I think that I need to put all of these ideas into another ebook, eh?

    Anyway, I offer my sympathy to those in the family who will most feel the loss of your grandfather’s passing. But, I also hope that this will be a time of reconnecting and celebrating, because it’s a great accomplishment to live such a long time; choose when you’ll leave, gracefully; and leave so many descendants to remember you and use those memories as a springboard for great life adventures.

    P.S. I did a double-take when I saw the name, A. E. McGill. Another friend of mine will be a distant cousin of yours, . (All spellings of a name are usually traced back to the same root, and the change of spelling may be as recent as Ellis Island.)

  2. Might be Scottish, but family lore has it that we’re Irish. I’ve always been told that grandpa was 100% Irish (but not by him) – making me 1/4. I tried to find the McGill name in some name-origin books, and the only reference I could find was a minor nobleman lease-holder to a Scottish lord back in the 1500’s.

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