Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ancestor Hunger

Sometimes something I'm doing triggers thoughts of relatives long gone, and I find myself missing them. It's not so much a memory as a longing to share this experience with them, because there's something we have in common in that moment, an affinity for a particular activity.

When I discover a new coffee shop, I think of my Grandma Clausen and how much she would have enjoyed it. How she would have looked around and smiled and said, "Isn't this nice." She would have appreciated the proliferation of coffee shops, which really started after her death (in 1991). She would have understood them as places of conviviality, and I think she would have liked them all, and the way that they reflect their various communities. I often wish I could take her around to all the coffee shops I like and share them with her.

It's when I'm doing something inventive that my dad enters my head. Especially when it's something  creative and a little bit quirky, something that seems in the moment brilliantly useful, but probably only to me. Yesterday, I was clearing my desk because I needed to spread out the proofreading I was doing (due this morning), and there were a few business cards I didn't know what to do with, and pretty soon I was cutting and folding and creating a little mini portfolio to hold business cards. I even fished some cardstock scraps out of my recycling bag and cut them and glued them on as covers. And as I was making this little scrappy portfolio, I was thinking what a good idea this is and how I should make some for my Etsy page (only out of more attractive paper). All this, while I should have been proofreading!

And this morning when I was looking at the little portfolio, I thought, Dad would have liked this, and I could imagine myself sitting at the table with him, figuring stuff like this out together. And I actually felt sad and missed my dad in that moment.

I know, they are still with me in these ways that I have just described. There's a piece of each of them in me, I know that. But it's in those moments when I feel their presence that I miss them.


  1. I know what you mean. My dad had a fabulous (quirky) sense of humour and there are so many times when I think, "Dad would have loved that..I wish I could call him and tell him." There are times when I sense the presence of my Grandmother especially after I use lemon oil on furniture. Sometimes just the way I have arranged a tablescape will bring her presence to me. Our ancestors are within us and every so often, one of them pops out for a visit. One day it will be one of our traits that pops out in one of our descendents and they will say, "Remember when...."

  2. Reading your post made me think about all the times I have experienced that kind of longing. My Grandpa was a gardner and I spent so many days of childhood following him around in the garden. He was such a loving and kind man and took the time to teach me about growing things.
    He especially loved chrysanthemums and grew them all around his yard.
    Whenever I am working in my own garden I can feel him looking over my shoulder. I think of him and miss him and am so grateful to have had him in my life.

  3. Your post hit home...I have been thinking of my parents so much these days. I found myself reaching for the phone the other day to call my Mom(dead for almost two years now)after reading a note about something very cute my granddaughter did. I just knew she would have gotten a kick out of it.

    It is a blessing to remember those who have gone before us. I miss my Mom and Dad so much, but the memories I have help ease the pain of not having them with me.


Thanks for reading, and for sharing your thoughts.