I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks. I think it started when I attended the funeral of one of my high school friends. He was one of the good people who populated my youth. He was a successful accountant, had a wife and seven children. I hadn’t seen much of him in the last few years but it gave me pleasure thinking of him living his life. I was shocked to learn he shot himself.
I have been somewhat outspoken on the topic of suicide still firmly believe that where there is life there is hope. He was always such a positive person—and clearly loved by his family. This is why it was such a shock to me. I have accepted I will never understand it. All I can do at this point is grieve his loss and wish him and his family well.
I found myself thinking about this a lot. So I decided to find something to take my mind of it. I decided to go to a popular genealogical website and research my ancestors. I was pleasantly surprised. I found many lines in America that placed my ancestors right on the frontier. I traced my ancestors back to colonial America and further back to England. I found an ancestor that came on the Mayflower. In England I found some lines that had members of the nobility. I traced those lines back to the Plantagenet kings of England. There were Scottish kings and kings of France and Sweden. I even found Charlemagne and through him ancestors going back to Roman times. It was fun.
However, then I started to wonder “What does this all mean?” I thought about this a bit. Took some pride in the fact that some of my ancestors built Western Europe. But then I thought “What have they done for me lately?” I suspect that Charlemagne has thousands of descendants. After all, he had eight wives. None of the wealth or power has found its way to me. Also, it seems that most of those powerful people were ruthless, greedy and power-hungry.
Additionally, Charlemagne lived over 1200 years ago. He is my 35th great grandfather. That means there were living at that time millions of other people who were my ancestors. I also carry their genes. The conclusion I came to is that my ancestors going back to the dawn of humanity have given me life. What I do with this precious gift is up to me. I do feel gratitude for this gift. Furthermore, I read a while back that all living humans descended from one woman who lived many thousands of years ago. We are truly one family. We are all truly connected to each other. Maybe we should be nicer to each other.