When a parent passes away, adult children are left with an extensive to-do list to close out the estate. It’s a difficult time—a blend of grieving, paperwork, phone calls, taxes and other chores. But there is one thing a person can leave behind to lift the spirits of those left behind—a book of life stories and memories in the form of a personal memoir.
Writing a personal memoir is a rewarding experience. It’s an opportunity to step back into the past and remember the good, the not-so-good and everything in between. You can re-experience your childhood, your memories of parents and grandparents, lessons learned, favorite moments of each child and so much more. Yet it’s the “so much more” that often keeps people from getting started in the first place. It’s not uncommon to find yourself questioning how you will ever finish—and so you never get started. Sound familiar?
One of the things that we’ve learned at JamBios, the free memoir-writing website, is that the best way to write “The Story of You” is to do so one memory at a time. You don’t have to start at the beginning—think patchwork quilt rather than chronological timeline. You can always re-order it later. A good memoir website will provide topic choices and question prompts to help you along the way.
It’s Never Too Late
Many have thought about writing out their life stories to pass along, but they don’t get started until what feels to them like it’s too late. They receive a bad medical diagnosis, their memories aren’t as good as they used to be, or they have a busy lifestyle without enough free time to write. They get held back wondering how they can possibly get down all the stories of their life before their time is up. Here’s the good news: whatever stories you get down will be enough. Imagine finding a book of life stories from your great-grandmother. Would you be concerned if she didn’t include every moment of her life or would you be grateful for the stories she did? It’s the same for you and your life stories. Any memories you pass down will be a treasure to those who care.
An Autobiography Legacy Plan
If time is truly short, or if you want to ensure your family receives your memoir, a Legacy Plan from a memoir site like JamBios can ease your mind (and save you money). With a Legacy Plan, you can write your stories whenever a story comes to mind without worrying about finishing. If something happens to you before you’ve shared your stories with your children, they will receive a gift book of all the memories that you’ve completed to date—professionally edited, proofread and formatted into a beautiful keepsake of your life.
After you pass, while working through wills and trusts and insurance papers, your children will come across a special document with a secret code. They go to a website, plug in the code, and add their mailing address. And in a few weeks, they receive a last gift of memories from you—all the stories about your life that they can pass down to their children and on for generations. It gives them something truly special to remember you by and allows for a true legacy for your family. The key to creating this kind of legacy? Simply getting started.