Have you ever considered writing your life story? I don’t necessarily mean for sale and publication, although there are many people doing just that these days. I’m thinking more of what the process might mean to family after you’re gone.
A dear friend of mine volunteers for a hospice group, and one of her duties is recording life stories for hospice patients. These people have reached the point in their lives when they know their time on earth is limited. Often they may have only a matter of days or even hours left to get all the things said they thought about saying someday. When one is in that situation, you focus on what’s important. Some people just want to leave some sense of continuity between their generation and the next. Others may have been estranged from loved ones and this is their last chance to communicate regret or ask for forgiveness.
I can’t fully imagine how sad it would be to know you are dying, and not to be able to get said what you want to say. For that reason, among others, I’ve decided to spend some time organizing my thoughts about what I’d like to leave behind when I’m gone. Naturally I’m hoping that end is a long time in the future, but we all know things can change in an instant.
I’d like to encourage everyone, but I’d be happy if I thought just one person was moved enough to make a similar commitment to setting down the story of their life for their friends and family. It doesn’t have to be long and detailed. Simple vignettes of memorable things that happened in your life, or maybe just letting someone know how important they were to you could mean so much.
I’m planning a project around my love of music. My daughter knows many of the songs I treasure from my past, but she rarely knows why those songs are important to me. I will select a group of songs from my childhood, teenage years, and adulthood that evoke emotions and memories for me. Then I will make a podcast of what each song means to me, and include that song after the explanation. In the process, she will get a better feeling of what my life was like and what impressed me along the way.
I’ve already written down some stories of funny things that happened along the way. She’s familiar with those events by now. I think the music memories will add another dimension for her.
After I finish that project, I think I’ll tackle a photo album. A story to go with some of the pictures would be another way to share my life. Who knows what other inspiration I’ll get along the way. Perhaps even a plot for another mystery?