Everyone’s life is a story to be shared. You may not think you have anything interesting to say about your life, but I guarantee it is interesting to someone. Maybe you think it would be egotistical to write about your life, but it isn’t; it’s historical. The realization that we need to write something down about our life or someone else’s often arrives late: they’re on hospice or have received devastating health news.
I interviewed my dad about his life once, so I have some of his story written down. I never interviewed my mom and never wrote about her life, but in thinking about it now, realized it isn’t too late for me to record what I know about her life with the help of my brothers.
There are books that have a question at the top of each page, leaving lines for you to write about yourself. It’s a bit like completing a baby book for a child. You start with good intentions, and then don’t get around to finishing it. Sometimes the questions are difficult to answer.
I facilitate at workshop at the local Alzheimer’s Association office to help people with early stage memory loss and their care partners write about themselves. It is a very non-threatening environment and no one critiques what someone writes. We have found that one person’s memories remind someone else about an event in their own life.
The topics I have used with the class are subjects anyone can write about. This list might help you get started writing your story and helping your caree* write theirs.
Jobs – What jobs, paid and unpaid have you held? Which have been your favorite and least favorite?
Music – What are your favorite and least favorite types? What type of music did you like growing up and what do you like now? Do you now, or did you ever play an instrument?
Summer – What did summer mean to you as a child? How did you spend your time? What did you enjoy doing most?
Vacations – What vacations did you take with your family when you were growing up, when you were a single young adult, and with your family or spouse? What type of travel (camping, road trip, cruise) is your favorite and why?
Early Years – Where were you born? How did you get your name? Where did your family live? How many siblings did you have and where did you fall in the birth order? When did you start school and where did you go?
Writing down your story is important for us and our carees*. It isn’t hard to do but it begins with that first word. What are you waiting for? Write your story.
editor’s note: A Caree is the person for whom you are caring.
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