A Lockdown to Remember: Letters from the Past, 2020

This essay is, in a way, a story about stories. It details my experience with the loss of my grandfather at the beginning of the Covid lockdown, and how I subsequently spent the summer reading and transcribing my grandparents’ old letters. What started as just satisfying my own curiosity quickly became a transformative process. Reading everything from anniversary poems to gossip about the neighbours gave me a sense of connection to my grandparents that bridged the generations in a way few manage in life. The process taught me a lot about the past, but even more about myself, the realities of adulthood, and my continuing connection to those gone before me. I think it is particularly important to share stories like this during a pandemic to show that there are alternatives when funerals, our traditional outlets for grief, are unable to take place. I hope this essay inspires you to dig out your old half-finished photo album or journal and make some memories or ask your relatives for their best family stories. Future generations will thank you and you never know, you might learn something in the process.