I asked my friend Eileen Sedilko if she would write about the night with her family (mentioned in the previous post) at the Salthill Hotel and she graciously agreed to write a post. Enjoy her thoughts…
Jim asked me to reflect on a visit we had with my cousins in Ireland last September. I really hadn’t done much of that in earnest until now. As I pondered how I felt, I smiled. At the time, I had a very specific idea of what I wanted from the night (genealogy information). Somehow I thought there’d be this quiet evening of people looking at very old photos of my dad and other relatives, and filling in blanks on names and dates etc.
Trying to get that info 10 years ago, I was told “it’d be better to just come over and look in the cemetery for that kind of information”. Well, I did do that several years ago but I still had holes to fill. What I discovered then, and again last September is they really didn’t have much interest or information about past generations. But, it became abundantly clear they were interested in ME. This festive group ranging in age from early 40’s to late 80’s wanted photos with me, wanted to talk to me, wanted to talk to one another as they hadn’t seen each other since the last family wedding, baptism, etc. I had been nervous to go and was happy my husband Stan, Jim and Lena had come to support me. And, they were soooo kind as to engage in conversation with all of them. From the start there were handshakes, hugs, drinks all around and loud boisterous music and discussion. I learned my Irish family are really in no hurry, take life as it comes and are very sociable people. I did not want the evening to end.
With my voice gone, we finally left after midnight as Stan and Jim had their first bike ride at 7am the next morning. Pictures were a highlight as we parted and I felt like a celebrity as they all wanted a photo with ME in it. I had lost track of my questions regarding our shared ancestry. I didn’t care at that point. Meeting THIS generation-those who remembered my dad and our US cousins became the springboard for the fact that we were blood relatives with common names and similar facial features. And, somehow now as we all globally shelter in place, knowing my kin are doing the same thing all across the world, brings that same smile. I know who they are, where they are. I am in touch and know they are all safe.
Thank you, Eileen and Stan, for inviting us into that amazing night, what a joy to be connected to this circle of love. – jz