Grandparents Day is this September 8, 2019. A day dedicated to our mother’s and our father’s parents. I am thankful for having some of the most wonderful grandparents in the world. They grew up in a generation full of pull yourself up by the boot strap mentality. They survived the hard times of America like the Great Depression and Oil Crisis. They became prominent members of their communities. They raised families while conquering the world. However, these stories are slowly disappearing.
My grandmother on my mom’s side (we will just nickname her Grandma A) has been losing her memory for years now. She suffers from dementia. She struggles to remember my mother or me. She spends her day curled into a wheel chair as nurses assist her with her daily needs. If anyone knew Grandma A, they would know that this is not how she would have wanted to spend her final days. But this is not what I am sad about when I look at her. I am sad because her life story is fading.
She no longer recalls all the race horses she kept, the businesses she started, or the challenges of being an army wife. She doesn’t remember her family bartering for goods when she was a young girl because their entire community had no money to pay for goods and services. Though these life lessons from Grandma A create a rich history one can aspire to, it is not those stories that I so desperately wish to preserve for my family.
I wish to preserve the memories of the people that influenced her life. Her aunt Lilian gave my grandmother etiquette lessons so she can survive in high society. Her father gave her the tools to make do with the little she had. I even want to save the stories that she used to tell about raising my mother, her brothers, and her sisters. She used to tell stories about all the critters my uncle used to bring home in hopes of raising. She talked about having my mother and her sisters helped at a women’s health club and floral shop.
I also wanted to save the stories that she told of her days traveling around the world when my grandfather was in the army. She told stories of the generals, officers, and other army personnel that created the always wandering family that made up the army. A family compromised of no blood relation but is bonded in a form that is unlike any blood-tied family.
However, these stories are disappearing. Disappearing because we forget to tell them or the story tellers of our families are growing older. It is up to the next generation to preserve our family history by retelling the stories of our family.