A Letter from the Founder
I start every morning reminding myself to think about the silver lining in this time of social isolation. For me, and for many others with whom I have spoken, it is the unexpected family time, particularly with the kids that have come home from school, that is being treasured. Family dinners, which we fought to find time for in our hectic pre-COVID lives, are an every night thing now – and our household has come to relish the ritual of gathering in the evenings to break bread and share stories.
The stories have varied – there are of course the current updates of how “zoomed out” everyone is, the debates if the blue light lenses are helping us with all the screen time, kids updating what they are learning in class, politics (to which I usually ask if we can switch the topic because the volume goes up significantly around the table…) and old memories. I have to say, the memories have been my favorite – particularly to hear what the kids bring up. We have laughed and cried and have loved pulling out old pictures and family movies. It genuinely is a gift – as we would never have had the time to do this if we were not amid a pandemic. Which is somewhat crazy when I reflect on it for a moment. It took a pandemic to “force” us to find time to be together.
My brother gave me a delightful surprise yesterday – though I do not know if he even realizes how much it hit me. He had uncovered an old photo album that had belonged to my Nanny (my father’s mother) and started texting me pictures. As they were coming through on my phone, I was flooded with memories. There were definitely two favorites:
There was the picture that hung by the entrance to Nanny’s home, where she used to instruct me on the importance of being a “working girl” and would share her stories of being a Morse Code operator during World War I.
And another of my dad with Nanny in his Army Air Corp Uniform – my guess is this was around 1940, when my dad was training to be a fighter pilot.
I showed these pictures to my kids at dinner last night and it led us on an expedition of discussing what it means to be American, the commitment to serve your Country at difficult times, the historical context of these photographs, as well as the meaning of Memorial Day. And that this weekend is a time to honor those American heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice and died for their country. We also talked about the difficulties that those who serve endure when they come home, the fragility of mental health, and the importance of asking for help. We discussed what we have learned over the course of the pandemic, and I would love to share some of what we came up with:
Gratitude for our time together – even if no one in the house is perfect
Legacy and what you leave behind – and what we want to be remembered for during this pandemic
The importance of family history and keeping it alive
At Theia, we are often working on ways to help families care for loved ones grappling with dementia and love seeing how old photographs can bring memories alive. During this time where families are separated due to social distancing, you may not be able to share photographs, but a phone call or video chat with those you care about may also be able to bring back family history. We love this guide from StoryCorps that encourages multiple generations to find ways to connect.
And so as we roll into the weekend, we honor those that have served, those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom also appreciate StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative which provides a platform for veterans, service members, and military families to share their stories.
We would love to hear your stories if you are inclined to share. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share on our Facebook page. We would genuinely love to hear from you!
Kindest regards always,