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  • Writer's pictureRuth Jewell

Life Stories ~ have you written yours yet?

Why not grab a pencil and a notebook and write your life story?

When I was Christened, my Mum chose three wonderful people to be my Godparents. These were my Auntie Glad (Mum’s eldest sister, who was like a Grandma to me), and a wonderful young couple, John and Diana. My Auntie was a huge part of my life, and I spent time staying with her and my Uncle Ken every school holiday. John’s parents were close family friends, as were John and his brother, so John and Diana were often at family celebrations, and a huge part of my life too.

As is every child’s dream, John and Diana gave me the very best presents at Christmas and on my Birthday. They were all amazing, but there were a few stand out ones, and the ‘burger’ radio from America is very near the top. I was the bee’s knees at school for having a trendy radio, which fitted into my school bag, didn’t need to be plugged in, and most importantly could be used each week to listen into, and so write down, the top 40 charts as they were announced! (The fact that it looked exactly like a burger was equally cool, mind you)!!!

We have very successful ‘jungle drums’ in our family, which means that we all know what is happening in each other’s lives, even if we don’t see much of each other. Way before social media we often knew within minutes of a birth or other announcement! This allowed me, along with other communication, to keep in touch with my Godparents, and them with me, even when they lived abroad.

Earlier this year I arranged a family get together, which of course included friends who we consider to be family. My Godfather (and his daughter) were able to attend, and it was so wonderful to be able to catch up with them both. I learnt that John had spent some of lockdown writing down his life story, and compiling it into albums, along with relevant photos.

As a Funeral Celebrant, this makes my heart sing. It means that his achievements, career, travels etc. etc. are all recorded in one place, and are accurate… straight from the horse’s mouth!

I asked John if he would let me read his story, and he has been sending it to me in instalments. I think he thought that I would find it boring, but it was anything but, and I had to stop everything and read it as soon as it popped through the letterbox.

For me it has been wonderful to add flesh to the bones of the stories and facts that I knew. To be able to read John’s thoughts and views, on things that have happened in his life, was wonderful. He has been remarkably honest, which was very refreshing, and has led an incredible life, among other things working very hard in his chosen career, but also freely giving his time to work with numerous charities.

Having been privileged to be able to read this life story, I have realised more than ever how important it is for us all to ensure that we record our own stories in some way. I do this with clients when I meet with them to write their Funeral Wishes, but will also happily help to ensure that your story is written down for future generations to read and share.

Sometimes there is a particular part of your story that deserves to be told, but your whole story is important. You may not feel that you have achieved much, or that your story isn’t worth telling, but I can assure you that that is far from the truth. You have lived through changing and challenging times (after all, we have all lived through a pandemic), and your journey through those times is an important part of social history.

Let’s make sure that everyone gets an opportunity to hear our story, in our own words, and give others the infinite pleasure that I felt in being able to read John’s story.


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