Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Beliefs about death and afterlife vary, but we all share the knowledge that we will die. If you have helped anyone with end of life issues you know each departure is unique. If you are close to anyone who has departed you have had the experience of some eternal bond that is not broken by that exit. Some essential part of your relationship remains and feels alive. I started to study my ancestry after both of my parents were dead. I had a few brief conversations with them about their families in history, but they had little information. My dad said he was Scotch Irish, which is true. My mother thought she was a relative of Zachary Taylor, which does not seem to be a fact. I believe they would have been very fascinated to learn about their ancestors, but maybe now they are one with all our relations.
My dad died in a a hospital setting, but my other died in her own home. She had severe dementia at the end of her life. We had excellent help from hospice for the last months of her existence. The hospice nurses know all about death since it is their specialty. They let us know that it is common to have visitations like my mother did before she passed. Some people have brief encounters but my mother had large crowds of visitors for months. It was clear that she was in touch with other beings, and sometimes we had the sensation of feeling their presence also. They were not ghosts, but were the ones who had come to accompany her across the bridge. She was able to die peacefully in her bed after all the interaction.
This week celebrations mark the remembrance of the dead. As we in the northern hemisphere journey deeper into winter and darkness the departed are free of time. Neither global warming nor the stock market has power over them. They are in an eternal state we will know someday.
My own fascination with dead people is neither religious nor political. I study my own ancestry to get a broader understanding of history and how I came into being. When I travel I love nothing better than to check out cemeteries to meet the locals and see what they have been doing. I am lucky right now to be situated between two very old and very large grave yards. All of these people have died in Austin, Texas over the span of hundreds of years. I notice what similar features the plots and monuments have in common, and then notice what makes each grave distinct. The designs and the grand expenditures tell one part of the tale, but if you let yourself imagine what their lives were like and how they made the journey here history becomes a real human story. Some might think graves are macabre, but to me they are clues to the ongoing conditions of cultural change. The dead at Oakwood express themselves in a few ways:
The private yard:
I learned that some of the important people in history in Oakwood have QR codes on the grave to give you the entire story of their lives. I did not have my phone with me today, so I will go back and try this super smart way to get more out of a grave yard visit. The grounds are lovely and well maintained. I count this one as a top destination for those of us who love graves, topped only by all the people who fell off the Matterhorn who are buried in Zermatt (still the best I have seen), and the one in Salzburg at the monastery. Y’all come and discover these dead Texans for yourselves. They are cute and friendly.
I have traveled in person only once to visit my dead ancestors and look for local records of their lives. I went to Tulsa, where I was born, and my grandparents are buried, but I can not find their graves. After my cousin went back to Iowa I did more investigation in the town where my father was born, Independence, KS. I drove to the small rural town of Ladore, where many of my ancestors settled when they came from Ohio and New York. I found the grave of one of my 2nd great grandmother while looking for somebody else. It made the hair stand up on my neck even in sweltering humid July in Kansas. I have been all over the world on all kinds of journeys, but this is a whole new way to look at travel…visiting history by combining the ancestors and geography. Kinky, and very cool.
I have accumulated and am trying to geographically arrange data on ancestors around Plymouth Colony, MA and around Jamestown, VA. I will go to both destinations eventually, but have to choose one to be the first. The peeps are mostly very fancy in both places and we know how to find many of the graves, some homes, etc. I am not really into them for the royal blood and fame, I just like them because they survived. It is nothing like visiting living relatives. They are past judgement and are all very low maintenance. They are what you might call spooky. I just learned from a local that Virginia is a vortex for ticks, which makes graves in Massachusetts instantly sound so much more appealing. I am thinking now of flying to tick free, but cold Boston. Someday I will procure the right tick graveyard gear to safely visit my Virginians…like Mary, who is in the private and elite graveyard at Warner Hall with a lot of my other ancestors:
The walled family cemetery of the Warner and Lewis families is located on the Warner Hall property, southeast of Warner Hall. Access to the Graveyard is from the road North of Warner Hall and not from Warner Hall or the Driveway to Warner Hall located West of the Graveyard. The cemetery is the final resting place for many of the Warner and Lewis family members. The family cemetery, is also the resting place for such well known ancestors of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, The Queen Mother of England, and Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth has visited Gloucester where she placed a wreath upon her ancestor’s grave. The cemetery has thirteen graves and plaques in memory of all the family. The cemetery is owned and maintained by the Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (A.P.V.A.). The A.P.V.A. acquired the cemetery at Warner Hall in 1903, since which time the Association’s Gloucester Branch, now known as the Joseph Bryan Branch, has zealously maintained it.
There are thirteen graves in the Warner Hall Grave Yard. they are:1 Mary Warner (believed to be Mary Towneley Warner), 1614 – 16622 Augustine Warner I, 1611 – 16743 Augustine Warner II, 1642 – 16814 Mildred Reade Warner (wife of Augustine Warner II), 16945 Augustine Warner III, 1666 – 16866 Elizabeth Warner Lewis (d/o Augustine Warner II w/o Col John Lewis), 1672 – 17197 Col John Lewis (s/o John & Isabella Lewis h/o Elizabeth Warner), 1669 – 17258 Mary Chiswell Lewis (d/o John & Elizabeth Randolph Chiswell w/o Warner Lewis II, 1748 – 17769 Warner Lewis II (s/o Warner Lewis I & Eleanor Bowles Gooch Lewis & grandson of Col John Lewis & Elizabeth Warner Lewis), 1747 – 179110 Juliana Clayton (d/o Dr. Thomas & Isabella Lewis Clayton), 1731 – 173411 Isabella Lewis Clayton (d/o Col John Lewis & Elizabeth Warner w/o Dr. Thomas Clayton), 1706/7 – 1742 (the dates 1706/7 is exactly what is engraved on her stone)12 (Dr.) Thomas Clayton (h/o Isabella Lewis), 1701 – 173913 Caroline Lewis Barrett (d/o Warner Lewis II), 1783 – 1811