Your Ancestors Wanted to Be Remembered

"Will I be remembered?"

Our daughter, Carissa, passed away on March 22, 2023.  She had suffered for 29-nine years with a paralyzed digestive tract, a medical condition known as gastroparesis.  She was a remarkable girl-young lady-45-year-old woman in the way she fought through pain and multiple surgeries, including a five-organ transplant–stomach, small bowel, liver, pancreas, and duodenum–in order to live a normal-as-possible life and leave a positive impact on the many lives she touched.

Carissa was a very committed Christian.  As a young girl she put her faith in Jesus Christ to be her Savior.  In spite of many challenges in life, she lived for Jesus.  After her transplant, she committed her life to Jesus more deeply than ever.  She was well aware of her mortality and was determined to live her life to the fullest for God’s glory.  

Carissa was very bold with her faith.  Her physical conditions limited her social interactions somewhat, but wherever she went she had friends and strangers she met immediately were attracted to her friendly smile and quickly learned to admire her.  But she never shied away from letting them know she was a Christian, a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ.  

Carissa Haston (October 28, 1977 - March 22, 2023)

What We Learned Soon After Carissa Passed

On the night after Carissa’s Celebration of Life service in her hometown of New Cumberland, PA, her mother, sisters, and one very special friend (who had been an aide to Carissa for several years) went to Carissa’s apartment to begin the process of sorting out her personal belongings.  Her friend discovered a little notebook that none of us had ever known about.  It contained several pages of thoughts that she had jotted down about her life.  In one section she made a list of fears.  One of those fears really made me think.  And I believe it’s a fear that almost every person has when he/she thinks about death. “Will I be remembered?”  That’s why some people give millions of dollars to have a building or other public structure named for them. 

I hope that, from heaven, Carissa was able to look in on the two Celebrations of Life that were held for her, one in PA and the other in TN, at a church near where she was buried.  The crowds were large and many spoke about her impact on their lives.  “Yes, Carissa you were and will be remembered for many years to come!”

"Will I be Remembered" - A Common Human Fear

I fear being forgotten too. Death is a weird thing, and I know sometimes it may seem selfish that all I am most worried about is being forgotten. Someone close to me passed a couple years ago and on most days I feel anger and resentment to all those who have forgotten her.

Fear of being forgotten is common.  Some people fear it to an extreme–an irrational and debilitating phobia known as athazagoraphobia.  But the common fear of being forgotten is something almost everyone experiences.  I certainly don’t want to be forgotten, do you?

Your Ancestors Also Feared Being Forgotten

I can’t say that I feel anger and resentment when a deceased friend or loved one is forgotten, but I DO feel sad and disappointed.  I love it when someone shares a pleasant memory about my father and mother–or Carissa.  Don’t you hope fond memories about you will be shared after you pass–even into future generations.  Don’t you hope someone will care enough about you to keep your memory alive?


I must say it disappoints me when I hear that people have forgotten their grandparents, great-grandparents, and earlier ancestors.  These are people who made it possible for you to have a life.  And doubtless, they feared that they would be forgotten.

Genealogy and family history are all about preserving memories of those who preceded us, even in spite of their flaws in some cases.  That’s what the Daniel Haston Family Association is committed to do–keep our family heritage and history alive for this and future generations to celebrate.

And there are Biblical reasons why we should honor our ancestors by keeping their memories alive.  But that’s a topic for another article.

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