Sunday, November 6, 2011

Family Stories - Will You Wait Too Long?

Four years ago, I became a Personal Historian, after taking some creative writing and memoir writing classes and joining the Association of Personal Historians (APH). As I started to get more clients, I noticed a disturbing trend: my subjects had a tendency to die.

Most of the life stories I’ve written have been about elderly people. I learned very quickly to determine the most important topics to be covered before staring any interviews, then address them first. Obviously, none of us know just how long we’ll live, but older people most likely have less time remaining. However, we can lose anyone at any age.

By the end of my first year in business, I was becoming discouraged—not because I didn’t have enough clients, but because the majority of them had passed away. To be honest, I almost felt like the Grim Reaper. For a while, I contemplated whether I was in the right field. During the interviewing and writing processes, it was easy for me to get involved with my subjects, through the good and the bad in their lives. When they died, I was terribly saddened.

One of my clients died very suddenly, but peacefully. I had just completed the interviews and written her story; all that remained was to finish pulling in the photographs I had scanned. After talking to the daughter who had commissioned me, we decided to complete her mother’s story in a booklet for the family, which I did two days later.

At the wake the next day, the family made me feel that my efforts were not only worthwhile, they were greatly appreciated. Without the stories I had preserved, the children and grandchildren would never have known some of the details from the woman’s life.

I continue to write life stories for people and encourage them to write their own. The important thing is to preserve those precious family stories before they are lost forever. None of us know exactly how much time we have. Make an effort to start saving your own family stories now, while you still can.

Are you ready to start now? Please consider coming to some of our weekly teleclasses, where we can talk about easy ways to find your own stories.

November Teleclass Schedule for Ethical Wills

Dial-In: 712 - 432 - 0900
Access: 197851#
Please join us on any of our calls!

Tuesday 11/08/11 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT / 5 PM PT
TOPIC: What Is an Ethical Will?

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