Friday, November 8, 2013

Sharing Personal Details in Family History and Life

Time, what a precious commodity. As humans we know that after we are born there are finite amounts of years, months, weeks, days, minutes and yes, even seconds in which to live. As the years pass it becomes apparent that this time is fleeting. Within those time periods we pass through various types of stressful situations. The mental or physical ailments of our own and others often are the most draining types of stress. When these times occur in my life there is a tendency to shut down and retreat from normal activities.

The activities that most seem affected are communications with others. When my father passed away there were times when the phone would go unanswered as we were not ready to speak to the caller. Recently a friend passed away and their family requested time for personal grieving. The beauty of facebook is that it allowed each of them to share personal thoughts, pictures and information about services. Since my mother's passing in June my communications included Facebook, personal emails and this blog. Not every communication is meant for the general public and some very personal items are reserved for family and close friends.

As a society there is not enough respect for those involved in tragedies, with the news media knocking on the doors of family members and friends. Maybe there should be a legal mandate that the media not harass family members and friends who are dealing with the consequences of a tragedy or the death of their loved ones.  It always amazes me when in the newspaper, online, or television, they state that the family declined to receive such contact. It seems appalling that they would even approach them. Those who want to speak out can approach the media.

Family history plays into this same scenario. Are we sensitive about what we share and how we share items found in our research? With the new outreach from several family history websites for personal pictures, documents and stories there is concern about being discreet about what is shared. If there is any sharing made public that provides information about living people their permission should be sought before doing so. Even if it is information found in publicly accessible media, out of respect for those involved we should err on the side of caution.

Writing is challenging during difficult times. In times of grieving or personal crisis there are so many steps to the process. It takes time to come to terms with these life altering changes. Moving into the holiday season will probably create more steps to the process. Do take time to record the time spent together in a personal and sensitive fashion. Capture the memories of those important people in your lives and preserve them for the future when they will bring comfort to you and others. Sharing personal details in our family history and those life events that are treasured memories are the key through the process of change.

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