I had a wonderful aunt who passed away in February just before everything started to shut down. We were able to have a funeral service and there was a slideshow of her life playing during calling hours. Recently I received a copy of the slideshow in the mail with her name on it. I am very thankful to have all the photos but, every time I see it on my desk, I can’t help thinking how my dear aunt’s life is on a computer thumb drive. I also thought that was an awful way of looking at things when I got a call from her daughter/my cousin. We were talking about cleaning out her Mom’s house and how all the things she had accumulated over the years needed to be either given away or sold. My cousin then said almost exactly what I had been thinking - that it felt like 90 years spent living were reduced to a few mementoes. Of course, people do live on in our memories, in our children and in our children’s children. But, all the little things about someone’s life feel like they might get lost as time goes on.
So what does make us unique and how do our experiences shape who we are? Will anyone remember those things after we’re gone? People who write a memoir are able to capture their life in a book but most of us won’t be writing a book. Or could we? There are some online options now that make it easier to capture our experiences and save them. Many are in the form of photos or photo books and some are in written form. I started one of the written services shortly after the pandemic made me stay home. Every week I get a question about my life and I send back a short narrative of what I remember. After a year or 52 entries, the service will bind it all into a book. And voila! I’m an author! The method breaks down the process into something that is not as overwhelming as the idea of writing a whole book. As an added bonus, I am reliving all those memories (good and maybe not so great) that made me who I am today. Once I’m finished with my “story”, I’ve decided I’ll give both my children a copy of the book. They may learn some things about their Mom they never knew! It has been a fun project so far and I can’t wait to see what my question for next week might have me remembering once again. And, certainly, there will be some things that won’t ever make it into the book 😉