End-of-life for many is a time for reflection. It’s also a time to share your life story with others. To ensure your story lives on, consider writing a memoir for friends and family to read and share across generations.
Memoirs aren’t autobiographies, which recount a full lifetime, but instead, pull in a memory or a few memories that help bring readers around to the ultimate goal of your story (which can be whatever you want it to be!). For example, if you hope to demonstrate your love for animals, you may write about volunteering at an animal shelter as a kid and how it impacted you, and ultimately taking your first dog home. While writing a memoir can be daunting, the best ones start simple, by choosing a few of life’s precious moments to share with loved ones.
Once you have an idea in mind, your next step is to bring it to life through details and imagery. While the story is one you already know well, readers who weren’t there with you may require additional description and backstory. So, if you’re writing about a bar you used to go to, consider including its location, its smells, sounds, and what the inside looked like. Perhaps, talk about what brought you to that particular bar in the first place. Pull your readers into the story with you.
Memoirs are told from your perspective, which means that some readers may not agree with what you’ve written because they saw the situation in a different light. Keep in mind, however, that others’ feelings shouldn’t dictate how or what you put in your memoir. While memoirs shouldn’t be exaggerated or revenge-seeking, they definitely shouldn’t be dishonest; Otherwise, the piece of you that the memoir was supposed to leave with readers isn’t really you at all.
Finally, memoirs should showcase personal growth or change. You chose the experiences you’re writing about for a reason. Be sure that your readers leave understanding the impact they’ve had on your life.
-The Vantage Hospice Team