Memories and reflections

13 December 2015

Life is full of memories. Some good and some bad. Yesterday, in The Surname Society Hangout, we discussed how Christmas is celebrated in different countries and I reflected on my Christmases as a child, lining up to go into the living room to see our presents, in height order. When I was young this was great but as I grew up, I was taller than other members of my family, so it didn’t work out quite so well then! Other members of the Hangout live in Australia and Spain, and it was really interesting to hear how hot it is on Christmas Day Down Under and how most of the presents are given on Three Kings Day (6 January) in Spain, not on 25 December.

Once all the work is done, this time of year is often a time for reflection. The work is not done here and Sunday has not been a day of rest by a long chalk, but I have reflected today…. on the loss of my best friend this year. It would have been her 48th birthday today but sadly, she was taken from us too young, back in August. I am grateful for the amazing memories of times together and I bet she is watching down on me right now saying, “Well done for making 2015 so successful!”…. and other positives to drive me forward into 2016.

There were some hilarious conversations I can recall and words which will forever be associated with her…. most are unprintable! She encouraged and supported me so much during our short time together. Her memory most certainly lives on and her photograph is on my desk as a constant reminder.

Life throws up some challenges, eh? As family historians, we dig back into the stories of yester-century. Sometimes, the stories make headlines for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong ones. Just the other day, we were researching a family for a client and were delighted to find that his great-grandfather was not the one who, aged 51, was sentenced to one month’s hard labour for doing unmentionable things (which would now land him on the Sex Offender’s Register) with a girl aged between 13 and 16. You never know what you’ll dig up…. but that is a conversation I am enormously grateful not to have had this year!

Which memories will you cherish from 2015? And which ones would you rather forget? Looking back over the year, what can you learn and take forward into 2016? What do you wish you had done but haven’t?

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