Remembering Those We’ve Lost: How to Tell Their Story

There are plenty of ways of remembering those we’ve lost. Of course, as the Legacy Lady, I focus on stories. We can tell people’s stories after they’re gone. And we can go about that in three different ways. They start with you as the individual remembering them. The second is to work with your family and do it on a small scale. Then for large-scale projects, there are plenty of different ideas to remember that person after they’ve passed. But why are we having this conversation right now?

It Starts with Stories

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a book signing. During that time, I had some really incredible conversations with women. Each of these women had a grief story of someone who had passed away. They had thought about writing that person’s story down or working with family members to remember them.

I hear really intimate, personal, vulnerable things from people, some of which they’ve never shared with anyone before. I’m honored that they share it with me. If you’re a person who’s told me your grief story, thank you. I’m grateful that you felt comfortable enough to share with me.

That’s why we’re having this conversation now. I have so many people around me who share their stories. Mostly about people who are already gone.

Remembering Those We’ve Lost by Writing Things Down

The first way to share stories is by looking at your own personal memories. Every day, we remember those we’ve lost, just by getting up every morning and doing what we do.

If you want to be more intentional about how you’re remembering that person, take some time every day to write something. You can write it in your journal—or anywhere, really. Share a little detail. Write down something you discussed with another person who knew that person. This doesn’t have to be anything big. Just remembering that person and telling their story by talking about them and writing it down helps. Go at your own pace.

Remembering as a Family Those We’ve Lost 

As a family, remembering those we’ve lost can go from small-scale to large-scale activities. On a smaller scale, it's simply by talking about them. Remember that person over Sunday dinner or while doing things they used to do. If someone in your family likes to write things down, they can keep a notebook of what you talked about and the memories you shared.

By talking about family members who have passed on, you are adding this tradition into your family’s fabric. This allows you to share that person with the next generation. It encourages them to ask questions and includes them in the conversation. You can even put on a family play, if that fits into your family’s personality, getting the kids to play different characters. Improv is a great way to 

Scrapbooks and photo albums are a great way to share those who’ve passed with the next generation as well. Usually, those things are sitting on a shelf collecting dust, so you can pull them out to have a memory session. Of course, a family notetaker can document these times as well.

Large-scale Projects for Remembering Those We’ve Lost

What if you want to work on a larger project as a family? There are many choices. You may want to try slideshows, full-length books, scrapbooks, or memory collections. Memory collections are designed to help people have a complete picture of the person who has passed away. The idea is to include as many people as possible, so you can even set it up online.

When I've worked on memory collections, I send out a survey so that everyone is able to share their stories and submit pictures. Those memories then can all be compiled into a book. If you have questions about remembering those we’ve lost or want to discuss project ideas, feel free to email me or Facebook message the page. If you are in more of a Hospice situation, I have that information here.

Resources for Capturing Stories & Remembering Those We've Lost

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