Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why Memory Keeping is Important -- Thanks Grandma

Four years ago on Thanksgiving Day, my Grandma and I had our last meal together. The following Tuesday, she went into the hospital and then onto Hospice. Grandma passed away just before Christmas. She lived a wonderful, full life, and left me with lots of memories and lessons.

Grandma taught me to be myself without regard of what others think. She taught me to never let my friends and family forget just how much I love them.

For example, each Thanksgiving, Grandma would stand up (as my mother sat cringing) and belt-out her Tom Turkey song, even in the middle of a crowded restaurant. I LOVED it, and so did every stranger in the place.

Last Thanksgiving, I carried Grandma in my thoughts all day. I guess my mother did too. When we met to drive together to dinner, she handed me several things that she found at Grandma's house that she thought I should have. The 20-year-old Hamilton Beach Mixer that Grandma used for all her cakes. The Nativity scene that I gave her a few years ago. And, a bundle of letters.

When I got home that night, I opened the bundle to find that Grandma saved every letter, greeting card, and postcard that I sent to her over the last 25 years. Reading those letters, I learned that my Grandma knew just how much I loved her. What a gift of peace. 

My daughters came downstairs, curious about all the greeting cards. They asked to take them upstairs to read together. Later, the girls came back to me to show me their favorites and to comment on all the cool places that their dad and I had visited. These cards gave them a lesson on family-life and love. 

As the owner of PictureThatSound, I knew one of the things I had to record was Grandma singing her Tom Turkey song. This Thanksgiving, I will have her voice with me.

I knew that my Grandma and I are a lot alike. But, until I received those letters, I had no idea that she and I shared the love of memory keeping. In those letters, what a treasure she delivered to her great grandchildren after her passing. What a treasure we have hearing her voice at Thanksgiving.

As memory keepers, we are the historians of our generation, collecting bit-by-bit the images, sounds, and handwriting of today. We are documenting the present so the future can understand and appreciate the past.

Thank you Grandma.  

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