When I talk about writing a memoir, I guess if you want to be technical, I probably mean a tribute.
But I like the word “memoir” better than “tribute”. In the case of my memoir about my mother
it just sounds more personal. The word “memoir” means memory so it would seem very fitting that you would write your memories about someone you loved and call it a memoir.
As I was writing the memoir about my mom, (you can read it here) I began to realize certain very powerful values in doing such an activity. I’d like to share that with you and encourage you to write one in honor of a loved one you have lost.
1. Value #1 – First of all it is a very healing activity. Though it’s hard to get started because, to some degr
ee, you may have pushed down your grief in order to do what you have to do to survive, it will gradually bring healing. All those raw emotions will start to surface which helps you with the grieving process. It is not
healthy to hold back grief. Not to let yourself express your grief can cause many physical and emotional problems. There are chemical reactions in your body that cause your immune system to lower which ma
kes you more susceptible to disease and fatigue. (To read a more technical explanation of this you can refer to an article written by Tom Gray titled Your Health and Grief.) But by allowing yourself to express the emotions th
at you feel by writing the memoir this will help your health both physically and emotionally.
Additionally, by allowing yourself to deal with your grief through writing you will become stronger and better able to help others when they go through the same grief pains. As I wrote about my mom, one minute I was bawling my eyes out. Next minute I was laughing my head off remembering some of the funny things m
y mom said and did. As I neared the end of the memoir I realized an overwhelming peace had overcome me. The Lord had used this beautiful process of writing down the many memories of my dear mother to bring healing and peace to me.
Value #2 – Writing a memoir of your loved one is a very personal way of preserving their memory. If your loved one is terminally ill you may be able to record many wonderful stories and memories with their help. If their death was sudden you may need a little time and space like I did before you can write. But try to start writing as soon as you can to preserve as many fond memories while they are fresh. The things you can write about are numerous but for starters consider vacations you had as a family, traditions, funny stories of their childhood, their little idiosyncrasies that made them so unique and endearing to you and others, personal little anecdotes they had, sayings and phrases they used that were unique to them. For example, my mom would
often exclaim, “Good Glory!” I have never heard anyone else use that phrase.
Value #3 – A memoir can be a very special gift for you to share with your family first and then others whoselives they touched. It’s a wonderful way to help them keep your loved ones memory alive. Your memoir could even become a springboard for them to write their own special memories.
I hope you will see the powerful value of writing your own special memoir about your loved one. I encourage you to do it. Let the healing activity help you and others keep their memory fresh and alive while presenting to others a very special gift!
Blessings to you!