Why Bother? Who Cares?
An Excerpt from "Recording a Life Story"
Your life is a link in a chain of human experience. Today, someone may be "too busy" or distracted to devote time and energy to knowing your life story - but it won't always be so.
Maybe there's a family member who will be passionate about family history, but they may still be in diapers - or not even born yet! Consider that you yourself may not have found your elders' lives compelling until you reached a certain age or level of maturity.
If you are wondering about the value of recording your story, consider these words:
We who have lost our opportunity say, "I wish I'd known him better"…We stare at the face in the faded photograph, try to imagine the heart, the feelings, the story of that person…
Many of us are separated from our families by distance and busy lives...Less and less frequently are our dinner tables set for several generations coming together to share a meal and the day's events. Even as our telephones bring us together in an instant, it is at the expense of letters, the written record of everyday life.
And today, as we realize our losses, few of us find the journal or stack of letters that might have helped us to piece together the insight or real life story we seek.
Excerpt from Legacy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personal History,
Linda Spence, Swallow Press/University Press, 1997
Though this passage was written more than a decade ago, its message is more relevant than ever today.
We all have some hunger to know and understand ourselves - and to be understood. Our descendants, at some point, will look to their roots and their family history to help understand their own stories.
Those who have no immediate family to write for can still pass on their experiences to whatever communities they belong to - geographical or professional, for example.
Recording our life story can help us get clarity and insight for ourselves, as well as the people we are writing for.
For more details on our e-guide to Recording A Life Story and how to purchase it, click here.
Related Reading for Summer Travels:
Helping Frail Seniors Travel
Holiday Visits with Aging Parents
Information on health, housing and relationship issues in the ElderWise newsletter archive
Vol. 5, No. 7
© ElderWise Publishing 2009.
You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Publishing, a division of ElderWise Inc. We provide clear, concise and practical direction to Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at http://elderwise.ca/ and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.