In Memory of Kathryn Corel-Hahn-Henson

Seventeen years ago today, my great grandma died. It was a very difficult day, as I was only 17 at the time, and as an older cousin said recently, that day was really our first experience with death.

Years earlier, when I was a sophomore in high school, she had bought my class ring for me. She said it was my graduation present because she would not be there for my graduation. April 15, 1990 was about 6 weeks before I graduated.

That Sunday, 17 years ago, I had gone into the ICU room several times and just stood at the foot of the bed. I could not go up to her because I was so very afraid of her leaving us. My last trip into that room, a cousin asked me if I had been up to see her yet. When I said I hadn’t, he had my grandma step aside so I could be close to ‘Grandmama’.

I’m sure I only held her hand for less than 30 seconds, but it seemed an eternity. On the other side of her bed was her son, holding her other hand. Everyone who had come to the hospital, except for my mom, dad, and sister, was in the room when she removed her hands from our grasps and folded them on her stomach. She had such strength when she took her hand from me, I could not believe that she was at her end. We all stood there and watched as she quietly moved on to the next stage of her soul’s journey. I was in complete shock. Someone said she was gone, and I ran from the room to find my parents and sister. The four of us hugged and cried together.

Being so young, I blamed myself for her passing. She told me she wouldn’t be there for my graduation. Perhaps if I wasn’t so close, she wouldn’t have left. I was terrified to go to her bedside that day, but today I feel so blessed that she waited for me.

Later, in June, I was in a bad car wreck. I might have been able to avoid it or at least made it less tragic, but I did not. Before anyone made it to my car, when everything was still moving in slow motion, I smelled Grandmama’s perfume. I strongly believe that she saved me from dying that day. I was not wearing a seat belt and I rear-ended a stopped car when I was doing about 60 miles per hour. The hood was crumpled higher than the roof of my car. It was Grandmama that kept me from going through the windshield.

I wanted to share this with all of you for several reasons. First is because I have not shared all of this story with any of my family. I doubt that any of them know that for several years I blamed myself for her passing. I’m sure that our family was like most. Once someone has passed and is buried, it is no longer something that is really talked about. I know it was a very long time before I ever heard anyone even mention her name again.

Most of you know that is from the loss of my Dad that I began researching my ancestry again. I had loss all interest after the death of Grandmama. Perhaps it was a subconscious thought if I hadn’t asked, she would have waited a bit longer.

Another reason for wanting to share this story with all of you is to tell you how very important it is to speak of those who have passed. The older generations may not understand this, because this is how you were raised. Yes, this is how I was raised, too, but after we lost Dad, Mom and I participated in a grieving workshop to help us work through our grief. We learned how very important is is to feel our emotions and to talk through them with someone. Perhaps if we had talked about Grandmama and all of the emotions at the time, I would not have carried such guilt for so long. I am not trying to accuse or blame anyone for the guilt I carried. I want you all to understand how very important this can be for some people. I do not want another teenager to experience what I did so many years ago.

I know as we grow older we become set in our ways. If you experience a loss, I am not telling you how you should deal with it. I am just telling you that without the grieving workshop, I would still be a mess after Dad’s death. Michelle thought I needed psychiatric help! Encourage the children to talk about their feelings. Help them to understand that death is not their fault. Especially when it is the first time they are faced with it.

Do this for Kathryn. Do it for Paula. Do it for your children and grandchildren.

OK, enough sadness onto the updates!

I have been so very unhappy about the navigation of the website. In checking the statistics of the website, I have found that there are some pages people are not finding. I’m still fighting a site map. Plus, with so many regular updates, it’s hard for me to keep up with everything! So, yesterday I spent the day trying to find a better way to allow users to navigate through the site. I almost even did a complete new layout! That was very scary, because that would have been quite a bit of content to change over! As it was, even the new links was a bit of a challenge, but I did get it completed and uploaded before I went to bed last night (or early this morning).

In looking at the statistics, I was able to see that everyone who has accessed the site has Java enabled on their computers, so I found a Java Script that allowed me to create a collapsible menu. On the left side of the website, where you would normally see the names of the children of Rebecca Oney and William Corel, there are now five different groups. If you click on a group, several more choices will appear that fall under the heading. I hope that this helps all of you to find all of the pages that I create for you!

You will also notice that I have made some changes to the ‘global’ links across the top of each page. I have tried to have them more closely match with the choices on the side menu. Although some of the links on the top can be found if you ‘dig’ through the side menu, I have kept those which I thought were most important on top. If anyone has any problems finding a page or thinks that there should be anything added, let me know! I can provide you with a direct link, and will consider every suggestion! I don’t think I’ve ‘over-ridden’ any suggestions made so far!

There are some links that do not have pages yet. There are also a couple of pages that are just there, with the links and outline of what the page will be. To see all of the Photo pages, the best place to go is to the Index under the Photos menu. There you will see what pages that are uploaded and ready to be viewed! Under the Corels by Marriage menu, the only completed page so far is the Justice Family.

The only new page I have added this time around is some photos of Olivia Gillespie Corel and her descendants. I have recently found that I have missed a photo, so will be redoing that page soon, but go and check out the photos up now for Olivia!

Questions and such

Well, obviously I haven’t updated much to ask questions about, but I would love to hear what you think about the new navigation of the site! Also, I have just gone back and fixed some links that didn’t make it through the upgrade too well, so if you click a link and end up at the wrong page, let me know, so I can fix it!

I have been researching on the Matney family and have found a wonderful site I will be sharing on that page.

I also want to make sure that you all know that I am always accepting new photos! If you see that your line already has photos up, but one you have isn’t there, please email me. It takes no time at all to add new photos and I love to look at all of the photos of our ancestors!

Wishing you all a great week!