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Record your life story - before it's too late


The 8th of August is Dying to Know Day - a day to start a conversation about death and dying.  We tend to avoid talking about death, grief and loss despite this being something that affects all of us.  Dying to Know Day encourages us to talk with our loved ones about death and to learn how to support others who are bereaved. Today's blog has been written by TCN Member, Melanie Lawson from Oberon, NSW.

Many people today see the value of documenting their life story.  Eventually this can be used to inform your funeral or memorial service and could also become a treasured family keepsake. 

A life story can also be prepared to celebrate a key birthday, retirement or wedding anniversary. What a great gift if the family and friends share memories of key aspects of the person's life as they celebrate a special birthday.  Preparing a life story is a great way for people who may be affected by conditions such as dementia or motor neurone disease to recall, record and pass on information before they become incapacitated. 

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What to record?

Your life story will reflect your personality and the life you have lead.  You can make it as long or short as you like and include facts and dates as well as your thoughts and feelings about things that have happened over the years. 

You can add to your story by including photos, videos, and memorabilia such as copies of certificates, tickets, letters or newspaper articles.

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How to get started

Some people find it hard to put pen to paper.  A life story doesn’t need to be written – you could dictate or record your story as a sound or video recording.  Modern technology makes this process easy and accessible, with most smart phones having recording options. 

Wondering what to say?  An easy way to start your life story is to compile a timeline of key events.  Your birth details, schooling, jobs, key relationships and major changes or life events are a good start.  Once you have these key details in order, it may prompt other memories and emotions that you can write about to add depth to your story.  Small moments can often be poignant and significant – don’t be afraid to include day to day events as well as major milestones. 

If you need more inspiration, think about including:

  • People who influenced you
  • Missed opportunities
  • Forks in the road
  • Your first love
  • Your greatest achievement
  • Your greatest regret
  • Your values and beliefs – how where they formed? Did they change over the course of your life?

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Keeping your story safe

Whether your story is kept as an electronic record or on paper, make sure you tell people where it is and perhaps leave copies with key loved ones. 

If you'd like to find a celebrant in your area to assist with your story, click here



Comments 1

Helen HENDREN on Tuesday, 18 July 2023 09:02
Family history in play back.

Thank you Melanie, I have been asked to interview and record the memories of 3 older Aunties in my family as we research our family tree.
Your blog has given me some wonderful ideas!

Thank you Melanie, I have been asked to interview and record the memories of 3 older Aunties in my family as we research our family tree. Your blog has given me some wonderful ideas!
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Thursday, 25 April 2024

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