Memoir Writing – Discover Your Life

We are going to begin at the end.  We are going to write our obituary.  What do we want it to say?  Loving mother?  Devoted father?  Hard worker?  Passionate about the community?   Or perhaps you feel it would say “Old drunk who could never get a handle on things.”

Write as your life is today or how you see it ending.  Maybe you just entered a journey of healing and recovery and see a different end to your current life than you did a month ago.  Write what you want other’s to say about you.  It may feel uncomfortable to say good things about yourself but try to go there.  When you pass away people will look for the goodness in you to write about.   They are not going to write about all the horrible things you tell yourself about yourself everyday.

Some of us think there isn’t much good in us, which I believe to be untrue.  No matter, the trick is for you to believe in your own self-worth not for me to preach it to you.  Find that one thing and write about it.  Maybe it is a nice smile that can warm people.  Maybe you were a free spirit when you were a child until someone took that away from you.   Claim it back. Write about it.

Traditionally obituaries are written.  Paragraph after paragraph.  But this is your obituary.  You can do it any way you want.  If you want to write a poem, please do so.  Maybe you would like to do mind mapping, please do so.  You could also create a collage of photos of yourself over the years.  There is a decent website that I haven’t played around with much but it is www.vuvox.com that allows you to make a digital collage.   Or get some glue and paste copies of your treasured photos on a board.  Anything you want can go.  The important thing is to express yourself and tell your story.

Here is my sample obituary:

Marlene Luneng, age 36, died today.  She was a loving mother, albeit a bit distracted with her new writing career, and a loyal wife.  She leaves behind three wonderfully gifted and beautiful daughters, three amazing sisters and her parents.

Those around her saw her as attentive and giving.  Sometimes too much.  She was committed to working with the public and loved chatting with individuals and hearing their stories.  Her children were often frustrated at how strangers on the street or in check-out lines at grocery stores would tell their mother such detailed stories of themselves to her.

She enjoyed giving people a listening ear and some  inspiration and considered herself a muse to some.  She was also known for retelling other’s stories as inspiration to others.  A messenger of sorts.

Her life work involved various jobs in the public and private sphere until she realized she only wanted to work for the public.  With that decision came opportunities to work with inner-city youth in Saskatoon’s not-for-profit community, and then in government helping other’s attain their educational dreams in rural Saskatchewan.

This was not enough for her and she soon left it to pursue her own passions of writing, story telling and educating others to be themselves and follow their true essence.   Always wanting to understand the mystery of life she realized this was what she was meant to do.  Sadly she leaves us before being able to touch us with her gift.

She will be cremated and her ashes will be spread throughout their family home in Rose Valley where she feels is the only true home she ever had.  Afterwards she hopes everyone will be joyful and celebrate her life and passing with dancing, music and good food.

Let us begin here, at the end.  Please, I invite you to share your obituary.  If you like, send it to me privately at marleneluneng@yahoo.ca

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