In my work as a chaplain, I heard many life stories and through them lived many lives. While I met and spoke with patients throughout my day, it was often what I heard at the bedside of a dying patient that captivated me most. In addition to the patient’s life story, I learned the stories of everyone drawn into his or her life. As I tried to give a true portrait of the patient, it was the many voices describing him or her that gave the portrait life.
But there was a problem: There was so little time. What could have been a period of reminiscing, gratitude and closure was instead a time of crisis, driven by the sense that death was near. In these moments, I wished that every family would much earlier have had the opportunity to gather their parent’s life through story. In this way, the fullness of their parent’s life would be before them rather than the frailty of illness and age.
This is why I started Your Story Shared. I knew that I could help families create a space for reminiscing and gratitude, recording the stories, life experience, wisdom and values of their parent generation. Building on my long experience of working with this oldest generation, I developed the collaborative and goal-oriented program that Your Story Shared uses today.
I have been eager to explore the possibilities offered by traditional formats like books, and newer formats like websites, e-books, digital recordings and digital video.
Friends and family who bring their memories to a Your Story Shared project will see these woven into the powerful personal account of one person’s life. In a sense, a Your Story Shared project gives each participant a place in history, their many voices telling the story of one life. And with a Your Story Shared product, your stories will not be forgotten, but from generation to generation, continue to be told.