Incidentally, this is my 100th blog.
By happenstance, I came across a blog called Pine Grove Cemetery of Brunswick, Maine (click here to view the blog). She writes about interesting people, history and oddities found at Pine Grove Cemetery, which, incidentally, is where one of my former bodies is buried. Even if you don’t know anyone buried there, the history is so interesting and it’s all very well researched. I highly recommend checking out the blog, after you read mine, of course!
Back in July, they apparently posted the newspaper articles and obituary of my former self, Fanny Chamberlain – also spelled Fannie. I had never seen the obituary or the articles in their entirety, so this was a treat for me. I know, that sounds strange. As a genealogist, I know very well that some of the best unknown information about people can be found by looking at their obituaries and newspaper articles about them. Even though the newspapers got some facts wrong, they give researchers a direction to hunt. So as a genealogist, I got excited when I saw “new” articles about Fanny that I hadn’t yet seen in their entirety. As the woman herself, obviously I never got to read these things because I had passed away when they were printed.
I don’t want to repost things that don’t belong to me, so please go read Frances Adams Chamberlain: Death & Funeral before you go any further with reading my blog.
Go on. I’ll wait.
Admittedly, it was a little eerie to read my own obituary, news article and eulogy, but the truth is, a certain amount of detachment comes after you leave a life behind and resolve its lingering issues, so it’s not that traumatizing to read those things. I tend to look for parallels between Fanny and me when I come across new things as opposed to allowing any emotional attachment to a body no longer in use. Also, I was 80. You bet your life I was ready to die. I was stuck in an old, broken body and ready to move on to heaven for a much needed break. This is not to say I believed in reincarnation at that time. It simply means that when you reach a certain age, meeting God isn’t such a scary thing, especially when you know illness, pain and suffering will be things of the past. My children were grown, my husband was mostly secure; it was time for me to exit stage left and any lingering I might have done was to try and comfort him.
One thing about the news article struck me in particular:
In speaking of her a friends said: “Mrs. Chamberlain had a fund of funny stories and of quaint sayings. She was young and bright in spirit, even to her last. She was cultured and intellectual and an artist in painting as well as in music. But better than all her versatile talents was her dear, true strong, loving heart.”
Aside from my obvious reaction of, “Haha, people would probably describe me the same way today, especially the funny stories and quaint sayings,” I noticed that this description was in stark contrast to the way Fanny’s granddaughter, Rosamond, talked about her. The image historians have of Fanny today being cold, bitter, vain, unable to love, etc., etc., are due, in large part, to Rosamond. It’s interesting how different people saw Fanny in such different ways. It’s basically the same with me today. Most people either view me as cold and vain or loving and intellectual. As Fanny went on with her life doing things her way, being stubborn and true to her own values, so do I today in my present lifetime. Any hurt feelings I experienced over being misunderstood were basically kept hidden in private in my lifetime as Fanny and I find that I operate in the same way today, unless I get pushed too far. A temper is something I’ve struggled to control since long before my name was Jessica or Fanny.
Another section of the article that struck me was this:
Then to the time Mr. Chamberlain was made president of Bowdoin College when she was still “the same little Fannie Adams,” and the students came to her with their joys and sorrows, wrong doings and love affairs. Whatever happened, she always took the part of the student, being almost a mother to them.
Not only was this an aspect of Fanny’s personality largely ignored by historians, being mother to people beyond her own children, but it is something that has carried over in me today. Additionally, I have repeatedly said for years that I feel like “mother to the boys” whether it’s the soldiers who fought under Lawrence or any other young people associated with him. I still mother people today and “take their part”, especially with my work as a past life reader. I usually end up being a counselor to people about everything from – you guessed it – joys and sorrows, wrongdoings and love affairs. This solidifies my belief that who we are at our core will not change. Our personalities and feelings may bend here and there with the winds of change but the core of the soul and its nature remains as steadfast and solid as a boulder. It’s been in my nature for a long time to care for people and be a support system for them.
Two songs were mentioned in the article about the funeral. One was Sun of My Soul and the other was The Land of the Leal. It seems that Sun of My Soul was one of Fanny’s favorite songs. Before I went to hunt for it on YouTube, I took a moment to consider my impression of the song, having not heard it in this life. I thought it might have been something along the lines of How Great Thou Art, which is the type of hymn I’m most attracted to, being melodic, lovely and sentimental. I expected I would have thoroughly adored melodic, lovely songs when I was Fanny too. I looked up Sun of My Soul and I found it to be exactly that. Here is a clip of a woman on YouTube playing the song.
As for The Land of the Leal, something told me that was Lawrence’s doing, although there’s no way for me to be sure. He chose songs that dealt with things on more of an epic scale in spirituality. His writings were so full of spirits and preserving memories that I expected a song of his choosing to be themed with love, preservation, the oneness of spirit, and so forth. This song is about someone who is dying but knows they’ll see their great love in the hereafter, the Leal. It’s a song that tries to achieve immortality through love, which, in my opinion, screams Lawrence even though he liked to joke that he didn’t enjoy silly sentimental songs. I found some Scottish band that sang the song on YouTube. The singer explains the song a bit before singing and there’s some funny talk about Shamu but just skip ahead to the song.
I’m not sure if anyone will find this blog interesting except me. That’s okay. I was having sensory overload today and I needed to collect my thoughts in a written format. I want to close with a quote from Fanny’s eulogy that hits very close to home.
Immortality is an experience like love, or marriage, or any other part of the life lived by reasonable beings. It is not a deduction, for arguments crumble to pieces and fall like a house of cars, but it is an experience, an achievement, an attainment. Some accomplish immortality in this world, and are already passed from death unto life, but others, perhaps most people, learn its meaning, and feel its power only in the world to come. They move on into brightness, while we watch the departing glow.