On Saturday, Harold Fahrbach died. Harold was the husband of my grandfather’s aunt, Regina Wittmann. If you remember from earlier blogs. she was also the one to compile the Wittmann family history from 1800 to 1980. I honestly don’t remember meeting Harold. I know I only met Regina once, and I was rather small at the time. When she died in 1997, we didn’t attend her funeral in spite of living so close.
Harold’s funeral is on Thursday and I’m planning on attending. Many people might wonder why I’m attending a funeral for a man I never met when I don’t recall meeting any of his surviving relatives. There’s a couple reasons. The first, obviously to offer my condolences. Having been in the receiving side of funerals, I’ve come to learn it’s often the people you don’t know from whom the most comfort is given. Second is to tell her children face to face how much I appreciate Regina’s family preservation efforts and how much they’ve inspired me. Now that I know their location, could I call, write, or stop by at a later date? Yes. But I also know that it feels good when people make the extra effort to make me smile when I’m down. If I can bring a smile to their faces on a day that’s very difficult for them, then my job is done.
I’d also like to eventually get more information on, and possibly pictures of, Regina’s parents, but that will be at a later date after they’ve had a chance to grieve. I spend lots of time each day reading that day’s obituaries in search of people that are related to me. Sometimes it’s someone I was at least aware if even if we never met, other times it was a “new” relative to put in my family tree. Some genealogists don’t understand my urgency for finding current obituaries, but it’s all in the name of preserving history. Obituaries give me the opportunity to say goodbye to a part of my history, but to also connect with and preserve history since the best tools for preserving history are those that have witnessed it first hand. While I love history, it’s also important that we live in the now and spend time with those that God has blessed us to be able to share our time with before it’s too late.