This I Believe

Aimee - Gilroy, California
Entered on February 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: death, legacy
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Elizabeth “Mamie” Cox went to be with the Lord last month. She was more than just a 98-year-old woman; she was my great grandmother. When I got the call that she had passed away, I immediately felt a sense of loss and regret. It had been years since I had seen or talked to her. Once she moved back to Arizona, I lost touch. Even though on many occasions I wished to visit her, these wishes never turned into action. Some excuse or busy schedule always prevented it. Now there were no excuses. I would see Mamie one last time- at her funeral.

As I sat at the funeral and watched the pictures of Mamie’s past flash by, it began to dawn on me exactly what I had missed. I realized how much history and information she had possessed after living for almost a century. Had Possessed. Past tense. She was gone now and so were my opportunities to delve into her past. So many stories had been left untold and lessons left unlearned. If only I had taken advantage of what was sitting right in front of me.

So much has happened since the early 1900’s. Wars, movements, natural disasters, and technological innovations. To hear about these things from someone who lived them first hand would have been the greatest gift history could offer. Mamie had lived though these times. She understood the depth of disaster and the result of conflict. She probably could have looked at politics from any angle and predicted exactly what the outcome would be. She knew the value of peace, the importance of honesty, and the need for equality.

I believe the elderly have so much to offer. They embody a generation whose departure from this world marks the end of something great. When they are gone, we have lost their stories forever. The valuable information and experience they have to share is priceless. They may be here today and gone tomorrow, so waiting around for convenience is not the answer. Mamie had so much to offer, but I neglected to tap into the wealth of information she possessed. Now it is too late.

Though she is gone, I have realized that there are so many others that I can benefit from. I owe it to my great grandmother to seek information from my wise elders and allow their stories to benefit my life.