Surviving Spouse Corner: Writing Your Life Story

Surviving Spouse Corner: Writing Your Life Story
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(This article originally appeared in MOAA's Council and Chapter News update, which is delivered monthly in The MOAA Newsletter. Read the latest Council and Chapter News here.)

By Micki Costello, Surviving Spouse Advisory Council

Often, as we enter the “winter of life,” there is a greater interest in ancestry and finding the “roots” of your family tree. Options abound with available ways to do this. In addition to DNA testing, there are workbooks that contain space for recording musings, drawings, favorite things, places one has been, or dreams of things done or waiting to happen. And with technology, it is even easier to provide a record of a family’s history — and do it earlier in life. 

Members of my family decided to create a written history of our grandparents’ branch of the family tree as a way to honor their remarkable lives and preserve the story for future generations.

The project was divided into sections: The first would be about our grandparents’ lives. The second section about the lives of each of their eight children, written by a member of that family, including childhood memories, relationships, places lived, military service, significant events, and the like. The third section an overview of the individual lives of each of the grandchildren, also written by a member of the family. Plus, space would be provided to include family pictures.

Instructions and a deadline were sent out to each of the family members. All the stories were collated and then put together into a hardcover book, copies of which were distributed at a family reunion. Though the project took several years to complete, everyone in our rather large family agreed the effort was well worth the time invested. It is indeed a gift to be treasured today and handed down to subsequent generations.


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