It is with a heavy heart that I return to this blog after a very busy spring and summer mourning the sudden loss of the number one supporter of my heritage quest, my sister, Kathleen Mae Reyst, last month. Her feedback was invaluable and I will miss it greatly. My research, for our family tree on Ancestry.com and for this blog, gave Kathleen insight of our father’s family that neither of us got a chance to learn about first-hand from our father, Arie Reyst, and also triggered some memories about our family that I had never known.
As I researched my family, I became interested in their medical history. To verify dates and places of death and internment, I started ordering certified death records. I began to notice a pattern on causes of death on both our father’s paternal (Reyst ancestral line) and maternal (Smouter ancestral line) sides that I shared with my sister, Kathy. Eventually, I hoped to include that information here in my blog postings so that the next time one of us went to the doctor and was given that medical information form to complete that asks: “Did anyone in your family suffer from …?”, we would have more precise information to provide our health professionals that hopefully would have a positive impact on our own health. But even armed with this new information, we would all miss those minute signs of a dangerous ghost of our genetic past that dwelled within Kathy. The pain of losing a loved one, now one in each of the past 3 generations, so suddenly and at such an early age from cardiac arrest is so overwhelming and at times numbing.
But I will continue to move forward and share some of my discoveries over the past spring and summer once again in this blog as life returns to some sense of normal, if that is even possible. I am thankful that at least during our frequent phone conversations over the past months that I shared with Kathy some of my research discoveries that I hoped to include in future posts. I still believe there is so much more to learn and share about our Dutch heritage and the impact those ancestors had on each of us and the communities they settled here in Michigan. So I will return to writing here again soon.