Finding Joy: Stories Worth Writing
Hello, my name is Joy. My mother was under the care of Unity Hospice for the last two months of her life. The care and comfort they provided her, and the strength I derived from her being in their loving hands, is something for which I will be forever grateful. I had the opportunity to express my gratitude in a testimonial which now resides on the Unity website.
I reside in California, but I am a proud Wisconsin native. A huge chunk of my heart will always live in America’s Dairyland. In the past four years, I have experienced the loss of my brother, my husband, and my mother. I have felt the deep pain of losing each of them and faced many days when I thought the darkness would never lift. No one can ever replace these beloved people, but I have learned that grief does not mean that my life is over. I have worked very hard (and still am) to get stronger and find ways to replace the darkness with light. I want to use this blog to share with you what I have learned, in the hope that it will uplift you and most of all, help you find joy.
Stories Worth Writing
My mom passed away in August, 2021. In the spring of 2009 I asked her to talk about “the story of her life.” I am grateful that I did. The things that she shared with me have become a treasured part of her legacy and the memories I will forever hold close to my heart. I hope the questions I asked her will inspire you to write down the story of someone you love.
On that sunny morning in May, 2009, I put on my “interviewer’s hat” and sat across from Mom at her kitchen table. The questions I asked often yielded surprises and helped me to get to know her from a completely different point of view. Here are a few that may trigger questions that you can ask your own mom, dad, brother, sister, partner, or friend.
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- What is your favorite memory of me, as a little child?
- What did I do that made you proud?
- What is your favorite: hymn, bible verse, color, ice cream, song, pie, cake, candy bar, flower, story, movie, actor, actress?
- What is your proudest accomplishment?
- What would you most like your children to remember about you?
- What or who makes you laugh?
- When you were in school, what was your favorite class?
- What games did you play as a child?
- What was your favorite toy?
- What is your favorite time of the day? Why?
- When you look out a window, what do you see?
- What is the most important lesson you have taught me?
Rather than type mom’s answers to my questions, I wrote them out by hand on sheets of paper and then transferred them to a journal. I was fortunate to find a journal with a cover decorated with her favorite flower, lilacs. Then, I chose a few photos of her, at different stages of her life, and pasted them throughout the journal. And, of course, I included some photos of the two of us together. I also inserted a birthday card she had sent me years before, with a heartfelt message in her handwriting.
Rather than type mom’s answers to my questions, I wrote them out by hand on sheets of paper and then transferred them to a journal.
Now that my mom is no longer in my life, I am even more grateful that I took the time to ask her these questions. I keep this precious journal on a table next to my bed. Sometimes, when I feel the pain of missing her, I page through the journal and she seems to slip quietly into the room. But perhaps the most comfort of all comes from the words I wrote at the back of the book – words that she spoke to me throughout her life, and continued to speak until her final days:
- “Let it go” (whenever I got too stressed)
- “Keep your chin up” (whenever I was sad)
- “Remember to get some rest” (whenever she thought I was working too hard)
- “Drink warm milk” (when I was sick)
- “I’ll still be there” (whenever I told her I didn’t know how I would manage without her in my life)
Words of wisdom, from a life well lived.
May capturing the memories and wisdom of your loved bring comfort and make a space for your loved one to live forever. Recognizing that every person grieves and heals in their own way, Unity Grief and Education Center offers a wide variety of services to anyone who has experienced a death. Generous donations allow Unity to offer compassionate grief support at no charge. Please visit the Unity Grief and Education Center website or call 920-339-6700 to speak with a Grief Counselor.
The things that she shared with me have become a treasured part of her legacy and the memories I will forever hold close to my heart.
This blog post was shared by Joy R., whose mother was under the care of Unity Hospice for the last two months of her life.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.