Re­tirees pre­serv­ing life sto­ries for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions

RSWLiving - - CONTENTS - BY LINDA AB­BOTT Linda Ab­bott is the founder of Never For­get Lega­cies & Tributes, a fre­quent vis­i­tor to Sani­bel and the author of Ten Days In Par­adise.

Re­tirees pre­serv­ing life sto­ries for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions

Anew gen­er­a­tion of re­tirees is dis­cov­er­ing the joy and im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing their mem­o­ries and life sto­ries for their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. Fu­el­ing this trend is a de­sire to cre­ate a mean­ing­ful legacy be­yond fi­nan­cial as­sets and to en­rich re­la­tion­ships with their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant at a time when grand­par­ents of­ten live hun­dreds of miles away from their grand­chil­dren and don’t get to spend a lot of time to­gether. And it’s not only mem­o­ries peo­ple are shar­ing― in many cases values, re­li­gious tra­di­tions and lessons learned are an im­por­tant part of the mix. Es­tate plan­ners and fi­nan­cial firms are get­ting on board. The Wall

Street Jour­nal re­ports that fi­nan­cial firms work­ing with wealthy clients are of­fer­ing ser­vices to chronicle fam­ily his­tory to go along with in­vest­ment man­age­ment and es­tate plan­ning ser­vices.

With 10,000 baby boomers turn­ing 65 ev­ery day, there’s a big mar­ket out there.

The in­ter­est in fam­ily his­tory and pre­serv­ing sto­ries is seen in the pop­u­lar­ity of An­ces­try.com and Sto­ryCorps, one of the largest oral his­tory projects of its kind. Since its found­ing in 2003, Sto­ryCorps has col­lected and archived more than 65,000 in­ter­views from more than 100,000 par­tic­i­pants across the U.S. An­ces­try.com re­ports 75 mil­lion searches ev­ery day.

I learned the hard way about the im­por­tance of cap­tur­ing and pre­serv­ing sto­ries when my fa­ther― a seem­ingly healthy and vi­brant man― died sud­denly at age 74. I spent my life sit­ting around the kitchen ta­ble listening to his sto­ries and, in the flash of a mo­ment, they were gone. That ex­pe­ri­ence, com­bined with my fas­ci­na­tion for the kalei­do­scope of mem­o­ries and sto­ries that com- prise a per­son’s life, led me to start a life-story (writ­ing) busi­ness in 2014. I soon found out that the joy that I de­rive from listening to these sto­ries is shared by the sto­ry­tellers. “Mom has a new spring in her step,” says Doug, a retail in­dus­try CEO, af­ter I in­ter­viewed his mother, a woman then in her 80s and a gifted sto­ry­teller with a won­der­ful sense of hu­mor. When she passed away last sum­mer, he in­cluded some of the pas­sages from her legacy book in her eu­logy.

A re­tired nurse from Wis­con­sin en­joyed the process of cre­at­ing her book and re­vis­it­ing mem­o­ries from her child­hood, mar­riage and fam­ily. “What is truly re­ward­ing is the in­ter­est my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren have shown in my book. This is prob­a­bly one of the most valu­able gifts I’ve ever given my fam­ily,” she told me.

Some­times it’s the adult chil­dren who take the ini­tia­tive. “I al­ways loved hear­ing my dad’s sto­ries, and they’re even more price­less now that I have my own chil­dren,” says Matt, a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions engi­neer. “There’s a weight off my shoul­ders know­ing that I’ve pre­served those sto­ries in a book for his grand­chil­dren.”

The op­tions for pre­serv­ing sto­ries range from books to videos to au­dio­tapes. On­line publishing plat­forms make it pos­si­ble to pro­duce one or more books at an af­ford­able cost.

Ev­ery life has a story to tell. You’ll never re­gret tak­ing the time to share yours with your loved ones and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.


Writer Linda Ab­bott says legacy sto­ries are not only mem­o­ries shared but values, re­li­gious tra­di­tions and life lessons.

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