Voices of our Elders


Waiting in the doctor’s office I overheard an older couple banter with the receptionist. Spurred by the young gal behind the desk proclaiming her life was “what sitcoms are made of”. The older woman, nearing 80, quipped she would soon write a book about her life. Oh the stories she had to tell.

When my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I wished I had asked her more about her life. I began collecting each of my family members favorite memories about my grandmother. As they piled in it occurred to me they were about her, but not in her voice or from her own unique perspective. I wondered. How would she recall these moments? Would it be different?

For centuries our elders have served as wisdom keepers. They were responsible for the welfare of their communities, the development of the young and worked to ensure decisions were made in keeping with future generations. Elders were the bridge between the past, the present and the future. So how is it that the today’s youth culture seems to have lost this? Or so it seems to me.

How often do you listen to your elders stories? There is a wealth of knowledge that should not be overlooked. In today’s society we are all too quick to dismiss them, patronize them like children, and write them off as Old. I call this hubris and it comes with a cost (loss).

I play bridge regularly with a group of ladies that more than eclipse me. I wouldn’t trade these evenings for anything. There is so much they know that I haven’t begun to examine.

So I say ask them questions. The stories are bound to be amazing. Learn about the elderly in your life or maybe just someone you meet at the corner coffee shop. Hell just communicate with new people. Perhaps if we begin to connect we can change something in our world. At the very least we will hear some interesting stories and most likely learn something new.

Image: The image above is for a greeting card I created awhile back. The inside message says “Let’s grow old together”. 

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