Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Precious Piece of Family History

--by wayfarer, posted Jun 23, 2008

I'm a bit of a family historian (not that we have much of a history outside coal mining in Scotland and farming in Ireland.)

One of my most precious possessions, which probably dates from about 1915, is a family portrait. My great grandmother sits on a chair all stiff and formal with her brood of babies around her feet and on her knees. My great grandfather stands behind her the picture of authorirty, but he is actually standing on "tin" legs after an accident with a railway truck.

One-by-one the people in the picture left this world. My gran died aged 82, but in this picture she is about 3 forever. One of her sisters, Lena, outlived all her siblings by quite some way. 

Going to visit Lena not long before she died it occurred to me that she might not have seen this picture for many decades. So I made a copy, framed it and took it along as a gift.  Unfortunately, by this time she had only the vaguest recollection of who I was and hardly seemed to notice the gift. But her son told me she really liked it and had it placed on her bedside cabinet.

Shortly afterwards she left this world, aged 94, and I was told the family photo was on her bed when she died. She was the last of that group of eleven to go and I like to think, in those last minutes, the family called her home.

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Readers Comments

grammagussie wrote: How thoughtful of you. Just a wake up call for those of us who put off following through with a good idea and then it becomes to late
StarBrite wrote: This is so touching. What a wonderful gift you gave her. A portrait of her family to have close to her to comfort her and bring back memories. God bless. ~StarBrite
seo serviecs wrote: just checking
mitu915 wrote: i really liked the last line of your story! thanks for your touching piece!
Nandi wrote: Dear Wayfarer,

You r very lucky to know your family history and have a picture of some of your ancestors; I, unfortunately, don't have such a treasure with me!

What u did for ur grandaunt, Lena was the most loving gesture and there couldn't be a more precious gift than the one u gave her! How very thoughtful and sweet of u!! Wish I had a relative like u!!
You made Aunt Lena's journey to her own family up there so easy, comfortable and memorable!!
And, by doing this, u created a very special memory for yourself!! (As I'm writing this, I'm inspired to post a a line or two, pl check.)
You are a wonderful human being! :)
irongrace wrote: This story is so touching of just how important family is Thankyou for sharing your family history with us.
MyHeart2Yours wrote: Thank you for sharing...relationships are one of the very few things we can take with us when we leave this life...Let's do all we can today to have those we love the most with us tomorrow.

megumi wrote: I am lucky enough to have many old pictures ... thanks for reminding me to treasure them... going to go home today and look at them closly again.
Modestobob wrote: My wife Denise is an accomplished genealogist and says that there's nothing like an Old Family Picture that brings everything into to focus. She's researched over 52,000 of our family members and has close to 8,000 photos in our lineage. Thanks for sharing your story. Very uplifting. ~ModestoBob~
sethi wrote: Her eyes would have become misty seeing the family portrait. Right now , she is smiling from heaven and giving you her blessings. Thanks for sharing.

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