John Donne's Meditation, quoted in part below, reflects something of how I feel. The recent death in my extended family (not the Niebuhr branch) gives pause, as deaths do, for reflection about one's own mortality, and about how each life is an tapestry intensely interwoven with the lives of many others. When one person dies, the warp and weft of the lives of a great many other people, kin or not, are shaken, torn, requiring repair so that the whole cloth can again become functional. When the death is sudden, unexpected, shocking, devastating, the rent in many lives takes all the more time to heal. And while we struggle to bring fragile threads of mending across the rent, we think about our own mortality. And we turn to the living in our family and vow to express our love and appreciation for them while they are mortal.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
The death in my extended family explains - but does not, I think, excuse - the dearth of recent posts. My work in the family history arena have been minimal for some time. My sense of urgency in that regard has become close to frantic, and yet the weight of my mortality precludes active effort.
Time must pass.