Family Tree Gal

Family Tree Gal
Family Tree Gal, Carolyn Calton welcomes YOU!


In every home, frame a family tree to help strengthen your posterity.

Welcome !

I am committed to acknowledging connections throughout the generations--past, present, and future--and igniting a sense of extraordinary family purpose in individuals in THIS generation. Let me help you discover your "roots" as well as strengthen the "branches" of your family tree. If you have had painful experiences in your family line, then this is the blog for you! In fact, all of us will see that as we strengthen ourselves, we strenthen our entire FAMILY TREE through the power of our positive influence.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Living Into Loneliness

Paramedics drove off with my almost-78-year-old neighbor in their vehicle this morning. I found my self ill-prepared. How do I get in touch with her daughter who lives many miles away? Scouring the minds of friends and neighbors, I finally obtained the phone number, made contact with the daughter and found out my neighbor had recently seen the doctor, who had given her a glowing bill of health. He said, however, my neighbor was depressed.

I live in a “neighborly” neighborhood. People wave and say hello and sometimes have conversations if we catch eachother outside for a few minutes—usually as we are going someplace or returning home. My jovial neighbor, now hospitalized, always provided a kind word, encouraging thoughts and taught us through her hard work which was continually evidenced by her perfectly groomed yard.

The event this morning, however, has caused me to think about two things that may be helpful to you as well.

1) Are we ready for emergencies?

Preparing confidently for the future is part of my goals. Knowing that I have an over 80-year-old neighbor. I could have foreseen the possibility of needing to contact her family members who live out-of-town in case of a health crisis for her. I needed to follow through earlier on the thought to have her daughter’s phone number in my planner.

2) Are we really “connected” to others in a manner that is meaningful?

Since I love her and care about her so much, why was I not aware of her depression? In my case, I now see I was relying on HER to be outside and ready to talk. I will learn from what is now the past, and will make plans to be more mindfully connected and plan a visit or two just because I love her.

Just last night, I listened to the words of Thomas S. Monson, who was speaking about doing something good and helpful for others: He said, “You may lament: I can barely make it through each day, doing all that I need to do. How can I provide service for others? What can I possibly do?” Then he told the story of an eleven-year-old boy who had taken the challenge of finding someone who was having a hard time or was ill or lonely, and then do something for him or her. The little boy said, “I went to a lady’s house and asked her questions and sang her a song. It felt good to visit her. She was happy because she never gets visitors.”

Monson continued, “Reading this particular note reminded me of words penned long ago by Richard L. Evans . . .. Said he: It is difficult for those who are young to understand the loneliness that comes when life changes from a time of preparation and performance to a time of putting things away. . . . To be so long the center of a home, so much sought after, and then, almost suddenly to be on the sidelines watching the procession pass by—this is living into loneliness. . . . We have to live a long time to learn how empty a room can be that is filled only with furniture. It takes someone . . . beyond mere hired service, beyond institutional care or professional duty, to thaw out the memories of the past and keep them warmly living in the present. . . . We cannot bring them back the morning hours of youth. But we can help them live in the warm glow of a sunset made more beautiful by our thoughtfulness . . . and unfeigned love. (Richard L. Evans, “Living into Loneliness,” Improvement Era, July 1948, 445.)

Often our “busy”ness gets in the way of our true neighborliness. We cannot be all things to all people—even if it’s our heart’s desire. For this moment, however, we can pause and evaluate what we can do to slow down and take a little time for the lonely and downhearted. Sometimes a smile and kind word is just what someone older and lonely may need. Sometimes WE need to make the first move—consciously, intentionally and with love.


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Note: “Unfeigned love” (as spoken of in the quote by Richard L. Evans) is love that cares for another’s welfare despite any wrongdoing on their part.


  1. Quite a bit to ponder on... Nice post. I do hope your neighbor will be okay. Thanks for sharing.

    A. CAIN

  2. This is a beautiful, thought-provoking post. It touches me deeply in a place that I'm not sure I can define without time to let it sink in -- and then I might not make it back to comment...(lol). I do hope that all of your readers will take a few minutes to reflect on this idea of "unfeigned love".

    Thanks for openly sharing, and I pray that your neighbor is well.


  3. Food for thought - do we REALLY know our neighbors. Things aren't like they were 50 years ago when our parents visited regularly with the neighbors or went shopping, played cards, or took day trips with them. Please keep us posted on your neighbor.

  4. Awesome post. I hope your friend is okay. I agree we have to step out of our own comfort zone and pray to know the needs of those around us.
    I've been on the receiving end too much lately - but I must say it's made me more observant -- looking for those I can help.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Great post! Thank you for making me think about this.

  6. I shouldn't be surprised when my neighbors tell me news about their lives that happened weeks previously, when I think I know them so well. It tells me I should keep in better contact with them. Carolyn, you have said this very well. Thank you.

  7. As one of those "over eighty" people, I can relate to the other side of this blog. It was almost a shock when I realized that in the small part of a world where I once played a central role, I now am often just an extra -- an enhancing part of the background. But I can't complain. It's life. And it's a time when I can "do my own thing."

    Whenever I feel left out, I remember and wish I had been more attentive to the needs of my grandmothers who must have often felt lonely; my older sister who smiled, even when she didn't hear. Like most of the lessons life hands me, understanding comes too late with too little.

    Moreover, I can't expect to pass any of my insight over to younger family members and friends, just as nobody could have enlightened me. It would be about as futile as teaching calculus to second graders. Even if they listened.

    Experience is by far the best teacher. And life is still wonderful.

  8. I find that those who are older among us are truly "hidden treasures" and well worth getting to know. We do get too busy in this day and age. That's a shame. Nice post, Carolyn. I hope she fares well. :)

  9. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, tender thoughts. I needed to hear this. I hope your neighbor is doing better.