I sat down with my grandmother on an odd day when she was home alone. Usually she’s surrounded by family; my aunt, mom, cousins, siblings. She’s 95 years old, and she’s our angel.
I asked her to read a voiceover for my film; she agreed, but not without telling me how much she dislikes the sound of her voice. She cleared her throat and read the text I presented:
Some 130 million years ago, in a galaxy far away, the smoldering cores of two collapsed stars smashed into each other. The resulting explosion sent a burst of gamma rays streaming through space and rippled the very fabric of the universe.
The collision was the first cosmic event in history to be witnessed via both traditional telescopes and gravitational wave detectors, heralding a new era in space research called multi-messenger astrophysics. Allowing us to observe the universe using two fundamental forces: light and gravity.
After her dictation, she flashed me an incredulous look that said, “What the hell is this?” I brushed it off like I normally do when my family responds to my actions with confusion, and I decided to take the opportunity to let my recorder roll and see what she’d let me know. There were a few stories I knew I wanted to hear, but there were still others that I was about to hear for the first time. 95 years of life leads to 95 years of stories. Who knew?