Writing Your Loved One's Story

Writing and journaling may not be a part of your daily routine, but during a time of loss, writing in any context can be a meaningful experience. Taking inventory of emotions and occurrences during a difficult time can be an important part of the grieving process.  Often times, I find that if I am having a hard time focusing and begin to feel overwhelmed, jotting down some thoughts can be very helpful.

In a time of grief or excessive stress, writing can be a productive and at times, cathartic way to center your thoughts, and memorialize your journey.  I cherish the notes I scribbled very early in the mornings when my children were new. When things happen in a haze, we tend to forget fleeting special moments. Even when the haze is due to grief, there are many things we would probably look back on fondly. Small comments and gestures that help get you through your time of sorrow can be lovely memories from a very difficult time.  This could be as simple as a special conversation with family from out of town, a funny story shared by your loved one’s childhood friend, or a fortifying meal brought to you at just the right time.

If you are caring for an ill or elderly loved one, time can play tricks on you.  Days and weeks blend together, hours passing impossibly slowly, yet you wonder where the time has gone.  This is an excellent opportunity to take a moment and take down some notes such as your loved one’s routines, and habits, for example.  I started journaling when my grandmother became ill, and I’m thankful for that. I look back on my notes from time to time, and I feel like I can almost smell her favorite perfume.  Small memories help keep her spirit alive. For example, I noted that she always had a kleenex with her, sometimes in her pocket, sometimes rolled up in her sleeve. I didn’t take much notice of this until she had passed and we were sorting out her things.  Every sweater made me want to laugh and cry.

So how do you go about writing a story when someone has passed? Composing an eulogy, an obituary, or even a fundraiser’s memorial story can seem like a very daunting undertaking.  I would encourage you to begin by gathering favorite photos, and invite friends and family to contribute by doing the same. This process can spark many memories and enable emotions to begin to flow.  Finding the right picture may be a great place to begin your memorial story. Select a picture for that everyone will recognize, that is good quality, and reflects the person that you loved so much.

Writing a memorial story is not only your opportunity to tell the story of your loved one, but is also a great way to express your thoughts and emotions.  Particularly a fundraising story may seem tricky. You want your story to convey your family’s needs and compel readers to participate with donations. Here are a few suggestions, that will you will hopefully find helpful when you are searching for the right things to say:  

How will your loved one be remembered by others, such as friends from work?

How was your loved one known, as a fun-loving person, a quiet intellectual?

Did your loved one have a favorite charity or cause that they would like mentioned?

What will it mean to you to receive the financial support you need?

How much information do you wish to include about the the situation?

Who, what, and where, were most important in your loved one’s life?

What struggles did your loved one have in life, what did he/she overcome?  

Did they battle illness for an extended period of time or was it a sudden occurrence? (Sharing how your loved one died is ok, and may actually help others.)

Consider what MyRespects has to offer your family at this time.  More and more people are turning to crowdfunding for end of life and funeral costs.  MyRespects is not social media, it is a unique place to share condolences, and memories, and to receive the financial support you need now.

It’s ok to share your emotions, in fact that is what grieving is all about. A fundraising story is not an obituary, it is about your needs, your loss, and your experience.

MyRespects,  Start a fundraiser today.

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