personal reflections

A Grandmother’s Legacy

I think it was back a year or two when I was out for dinner and beverages with great company that included Todd Smith, and the conversation meandered and turned as it always does, and I remember Todd talking about the importance of capturing our family’s stories. This really resonated with me as I had discovered StoryCorps, whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

Story is a map.

The map that gets one person through gets the next person through.

We depend on story to learn from each other,

to inspire values-based action,

to imagine the new ways forward. ~ Christina Baldwin

When I planned my intentions for 2012 I wrote that I wanted to record a story from both my grandmothers. And in June, as my maternal grandmother’s health was fading, I was able to visit her in Saskatchewan. I had the Great Questions list and a video camera handy, hoping the right moment would emerge for some story catching. It did, thankfully. I have about 17 minutes of precious footage of my grandmother sharing some stories from her past.

My grandmother passed away today. She was 85 years old, matriarch to 14 kids and 80 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. The map of her story that got her through has helped our many generations. We’ll gather in Saskatchewan later this week to celebrate her stories, what we have learned and how we have been inspired by her life and her legacy.

And in my travels back I will be able to spend some time with my paternal grandmother.  I’ll have my questions list and video camera once again at the ready.

Story is our real legacy: without story the artifacts of ordinary lives quickly lose significance and preciousness. Storycatchers believe that the stories of ordinary people contain extraordinary gifts.

From Christina Baldwin’s Be A Storycatcher