Researching my ancestors made me thankful to be alive. At 49, I had a massive headache that became an intracerebral hemorrhagic bleed that was nearly fatal. I was hospitalized for 30 days, and am paralyzed on the left side. I felt devastated, because I was a writer and teacher. So much of our lives changed.
But I learned to type one-handed, and found a letter from my great-aunt dated 1977, that told me about her parents - my great-grandparents. Then, I found a Civil War reunion photo, in my cedar chest, that I didn't even realize I had. It had my 2nd great grandfather in it, and that prompted me to research the 71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
I began to research more and realized, THIS was my new "calling" - how I can help others. I felt CONNECTED to my past and found cousins on both sides of my family.
I also learned that many of my own health problems were suffered by my ancestors - including brain hemorrhage.
I am THANKFUL. Without my ancestors, we would not be here.