Save the Memories of the Ones You Love [OPINION]


The death of a loved one is always a tragedy. When my great-grandmother passed away, I felt a void in myself. I lost someone to speak to. Someone to listen to. As an avid history buff, I felt regretful that I never asked her more questions. 

My great grandmother, born in Pleasantville, Iowa in 1925, lived in poverty on a farm throughout the Great Depression. She boldly moved from the farm to the “big city” (Des Moines would seem big to anyone whose previous neighbors had been three miles away). Once there, she  worked through the war in a munitions manufacturing plant and married a race car driver, all by the year 1945. She carried these experiences and memories with her for 92 years.

I desperately wish that I could know the details of her life during war, growing up on the farm, and leaving for that single-room school on a horse. Yet, in passing, my great grandmother took those firsthand memories with her. The memories and experiences of our loved ones are too important to leave to hear-say stories.

Over the summer, I recorded my grandpa talking about his life. We covered his memories and feelings of important events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy assassination, and Apollo 11’s mission. 

We discussed lighthearted topics as well, such as happy childhood memories and what my great great grandparents were like. Now that these memories have been recorded, future generations can see and hear a person they are related to talk about their life. That is truly priceless. 

I recognize the cliché of not wanting to lend an ear to a grandparent’s rambling stories, but they carry much more value than you can know.