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Tom Peterson lives in the United Kingdom. His greatest assets are his words, and he has been writing professionally for three years. Second to writing, hot chocolate is his greatest addiction.
Although death is not something we like to think of, it’s inevitable for all of us and the ones we love. When a loved one does pass, the last thing you want to do is live with regrets and questions that will never be answered. Oftentimes, in such situations, we find ourselves saying they lived a full life. While that is great, we cannot pass on what their lives really looked like without proper documentation.
As humans, we get fascinated by the lives of even those closest to us every time they share their stories. It is always amazing how there are so many sides to a person, but only stories reveal them. And so, telling and documenting stories are critically important!
Perhaps in the past, you have thought of documenting the story of a loved one, but it just never happened. We get it; it’s really hard to get started!
If you are reading this article and hoping that there are simple ways to document the life of your loved one, you’re in luck—there are! Here are 6 easy ways to document a life story.
1. Make Use of Interviews
The loved one involved may be your parents, your best friend, your spouse, or even a lifelong mentor. No matter who it is, you’ve probably heard them tell some of their favorite firsthand stories in the past. If you just love listening to them tell (and retell) stories from their life, why not capitalize on these moments and turn them into an interview?
Skip the small talk about the weather and get into some nitty-gritty conversations about childhood, work, past relationships, and whatever else you’ve been wondering. Of course, don’t be intrusive or pushy; they’ll share what they want to share.
These stories are great ways to remember your loved ones, and others will appreciate hearing them too.
2. Utilize Audio and Video Recordings
If you want a way to revisit their life story over and over again, you should consider recording your interview. You’ll have the information you need and have a great excuse to get together and ask the questions you’ve tucked away for later. Apart from their story, you’ll get to capture their emotions and expressions, giving insight into how they felt at the time.
There could also be random video recordings of specific events in their lives, which can be extracted and mixed to make some of your favorite memories of them—forming a portion of their documented life story.
We cannot take out the fact that some people are camera shy and would not do a great job with video recordings. This is where audio recordings are a perfect alternative. Making voice notes is a great option to keep your loved one from being nervous while telling their story. While making these recordings, memoir prompts can help you keep track of all the questions you need to ask.
3. Grab a Life Story Book
How would it feel to pick up a book where the story of your loved one is told sequentially with photos (from babyhood to old age) to accompany these stories? How would it feel to go through these stories ten years after they’re gone while sipping coffee? I bet it would feel like they’re just around the corner, especially if they did some of the writing.
Now, having this kind of book takes some effort and some time. So, buy a life storybook and start putting in those efforts today. It makes a great gift and lets your loved one know you care about what they have to say.
4. Turn Their Life Story Into a Memoir/Biography
Having the opportunity to write down the stories of people, especially your loved ones, is rewarding & fun. Many things will fade, but thoughts turned into words, and finally, into a book will most likely never fade. So, if you don’t want your loved one’s story to end just like that, you’re in a perfect position to write their story.
This could be in the form of a memoir or biography, but there are no limits regarding the length of a life story. A few pages may be all you need to capture their major life events and recollections. Keep in mind how critical it is to complete this assignment. Only begin writing a lengthy and intricate narrative if you are certain you will have the time and drive to complete it. You should also ensure that the final output is easy to read.
The path you walk through this evolution of documenting significant events, ideas, and lessons in your life will be a remarkable voyage of self-discovery. When you finish writing their biography, you might not even be the same person you are now. Writing a life narrative might help you appreciate where you came from and where you’re going. Looking back on the life of your loved one may be a cathartic experience that leaves you feeling more fulfilled than ever before!
If you’re writing by hand, create duplicates as you go and keep them in a variety of locations. If you’re using a computer or digital recorder, utilize two or three separate backup options as you go to ensure that your work is never lost.
5. Make Use of Photographs and Scrapbooks
Nothing beats the power of an image for bringing a narrative to life. Scan photographs or snap pictures of them using your phone and incorporate them in the tale where they are relevant. Request that friends and family browse through their picture albums and find photographs that are meaningful to them.
With the pictures, you can also make a scrapbook. A scrapbook is a terrific method to preserve memories from the past if you love looking back on them. Invite a loved one to provide a few remarks for each page and capture their life narrative with the images. You may save snapshots of memories that record crucial occasions in this way.
6. Get Them a Journal
What portion of their life do they want to be told when they are gone? What do they want their family and friends to remember about them? Is there anything they wish someone would have told them? Is there anything they wish they did or said?
Ask them these questions or write them down and give them a journal to document their answers. When they are no more, the stories and experiences shared in their journal will be a way to pass on their legacy to the world.
So many riches are found in the mundane situations of everyday life. Those close to them will be significantly affected by their legacy: those to whom they offered words of wisdom and those who learned first hand from their daily examples.
Have them think about what they want people to remember about them how long their memories will last as they write. The journal can be used to write a biography, or it can be turned into a family heirloom.
Ready, Set, Go!
You’ll never regret taking the time to ask questions and record stories from the people you love. Just remember to edit every piece of information you gather by checking with your loved one before making a final copy. Also, keep in mind that your loved one doesn’t have to be dying before you to document their life story; it could simply be their “story so far,” and it could make the perfect gift.
So, document today; document away!
You might also be interested in: How To Start A Journaling Routine [And All The Benefits]
How To Document A Life Story:
- Make Use of Interviews
- Audio and Video Recordings
- Use a Life Story Book
- Make their Stories into a Memoir/Biography
- Make Use of Photographs and Scrapbooks
- Get Them a Journal