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Fran Randolph | Published on 4/21/2021


Fran Randolph


Have you ever wished you knew more about the lives of your relatives?  I do. I wish I knew more about my grandparents and their experience in leaving their homeland to immigrate to this country when they were teenagers. What were their hopes and dreams? What were their challenges? 

I think about my parents who were raised by immigrant parents. I wish I could have asked them what it was like to live during the time of the Great Depression. How did they feel about starting school and not being able to speak English? 

I think about my grandson who is only 3 years old and I wonder if he will have questions about me when he is an adult the way I have about my parents and grandparents.

We all have life stories to share.  I’m not talking about an autobiography but rather short narratives of happenings in our lives that had an impact on us, either good or bad. 

Why is it important to write these stories?  They describe who we are, how we lived, what we thought, what difficulties we had, how we overcame them and what successes we had.

There are advantages to writing your story.  First, you can have a healing effect on others who can benefit from your experience.  Second, it helps you think about your life—both the positive and negative--in a way that makes sense.  Also, writing your story upholds your values when you describe what is important to you.  Finally, it gives you a sense of well-being because it affirms you as a person whose had a meaningful life.  (Psychology Today, 2012)

Writing your story may seem like an overwhelming task but there are many easy ways to do it.  You can write, create a video, tape your voice, or hire someone to write for you.  What’s important is that you find the time to do so.

Last month’s Village Views – our monthly newsletter—describes various resources that are available to you in writing your memories.  We suggest that you start with a theme like spirituality, education, early childhood, or special moments in your life.  You don’t need to write a lot, just enough to describe your thoughts and feelings. 

You can always leave your children and grandchildren money or objects like furniture once you are gone.  But for me writing my story is the most precious legacy I can leave behind.