Rites of Passage

What a horrid, wonderful year

Image by marla66 from Pixabay

It’s been a long, tough year–for all of us–and in a variety of ways. A ghastly pandemic. Social isolation. Masks. Extreme weather. Murder bees. Twin hurricanes. I was worried that this year was beyond salvage. In fact, my lapse in blogging is the result of being overwhelmed and unable to find anything nice to say or share.

In some ways, 2020 has been a most disappointing year, but in other ways, it’s been an amazing year too. How disparate is that?

The personally disappointing part: losing my job and company. Sometime in early May, I realized that the call center industry–my industry of almost 30 years–was going to be forced to undergo a major transformation. After watching our sales pipeline completely disappear, it became obvious that my business was not going to survive. So in early July, I made the decision to shut the company down for good. It was surprisingly easy, save for one aspect: letting someone very close to me go after working closely together for 28 years. Letting him and his family down was excruciatingly painful and heart wrenching.

God opens one door when another one closes. Several weeks later, my son-in-law intervened and demanded I provide him my resume (no, I hadn’t done a resume in almost 30 years!). A few days later, I interviewed for a new job and was hired. I began a new job in late August, and life has been hopping ever since. Oh, do you see me doing a happy dance? Having a position in a new industry is exciting!

But the biggest happy news of 2020 in Casa Kirkemo was “THE Wedding”. After almost 8 years of dating, my oldest daughter, Victoria, married her college sweetheart, Mike, earlier this month back in Virginia. The wedding planning changed a lot from their original vision, and they ultimately had a socially distanced wedding in a different venue, and a vastly different honeymoon than the 3 weeks in Italy they had hoped to take.

But isn’t the very notion of success being able to successfully navigate changes and disappointments? If that’s true, then I think we should all take a bow. This year has forced all of us to dig deep! Victoria and Mike stayed the course and pulled off a beautiful weekend. While many of their loved ones were not able to join them, it turned out much better than anyone anticipated under the circumstances.

Last year, Vic asked me to put together a pictorial family tree of sorts to display at the wedding. True to form, that plan also morphed into something completely different. I wound up gathering photos of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents, and they wound up displaying them–along with a whole lot more photos of them and their friends– in a digital frame at the front table. Although it wasn’t the original vision, it worked well too. Every time I looked at that table, people were in front of it and looking at the photo slide show.

With the silent presence of living and deceased ancestors bearing witness, a new family has begun.

I’m not comfortable publishing photos of Mike’s family without permission, but I will share photos of my side of their union for posterity. Some are wedding photos, and others are not. In the case of my Creech grandparents, no couple photo exists, so I had to settle for solo photographs.

Victoria and Michael Taggart, October 2020
Betsey and Kevin Kirkemo, September 1990
Bobbie and Joe Dunn, July 1961
Phyllis and Gene Kirkemo, December 1955
Elise and Bill Dunn, May 1936
Karen and Halvor Kirkemo, January 1913
Caraline and Fred Heckel, March 1927

I think this is a nice tribute to an ancestral journey and rite of passage. I think their ancestors were with them in spirit and wishing them all the love and happiness for a long life together.

Author: Betsey K.

Mother of two daughters, a Siamese cat and a 3 legged dog. Genealogy hack. Research nut. Search engine proficient. Daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece and ex-wife. And a person who strives for balance and peace.

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