Remembering Someone I Never Knew Through the Spiritual Practice of Ancestor Veneration


My Grandma Spaugh's birthday is today, and I have 3 photos of her on my ancestor altar. She died more than 20 years before I was born, and I wish I had known her. But I lit some candles for her and bought a slice of strawberry cake (sorry, not shown, and now I've made you hungry) to celebrate (I don't know that she liked strawberry, but hey, it sounds delicious!). So although I never knew Grandma Spaugh, she is not forgotten. For me, this is one of the most important aspects of an ancestor practice, to retain our connections to the past in order to better understand ourselves and our place in the world.


You may ask: "Well, if you didn't know her, how does that help?" Glad you asked. In addition to the photos, I have a few simple stories about her from my mom. Unfortunately, mom only had fuzzy memories herself because Grandma Spaugh died when my mom was just 7 years old. As a result, I've had to piece things together. I do know where she's buried, that she died of a brain tumor, and I can point out 2 houses where she lived (1 has now been torn down). The rest I've learned through genealogy. I've discovered Grandma Spaugh's parents, their burial spot and who their parents were as well. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but it helps me know where I came from and a little more about what has made me me. I realize there is also more I could learn. I have 1 relative still alive who may remember something of Grandma Spaugh, so I need to ask about that. And there's more that genealogy might reveal, so I need to keep digging.


So I light my candles, offer a slice of cake, sing "Happy Birthday"--and Grandma Spaugh is not forgotten.

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