It is important to document the amazing life your loved one has lived. A life journal is a creative way to document and reinforce how important parts of the your loved one’s life have been to them and their family. It also provides family with a book to cherish after loved ones have passed.
You can create a life journal with your loved one’s stories, recipes, photos, artwork or words of wisdom.
How to Create a Life Journal
Start by finding a good time to interview your loved one. Holidays may be convenient if you don’t often see them otherwise. However, holidays can also be chaotic. You may find it easier to schedule several days when you and your loved one will be able to give the project your undivided attention.
Interviewing for a Life Journal
For someone you are close to, you probably already know a lot of the big family stories. You can ask your loved one to retell these stories or fill in some additional details to get the conversation started. Then start to work through different areas of their lives – their family and heritage, school days, time in the military, courtship of a spouse and raising a family are all good starting points.
Once you have the basics covered, schedule a follow-up visit to fill in details. At this second visit, you should have a good idea of what the outline of your loved one’s Life Journal is going to look like. This is a good time to confirm details and look through old photos together to go along with the stories you are including in the book.
Compiling the Life Journal
Having gathered all of your notes and photos together, you have a few different options for how you would like to present them.
For those comfortable with a computer, the easiest way to create a life journal is to use an online service like Shutterfly to combine the stories and photos together. The user-friendly application will walk you through choosing a design and color scheme that best fits your loved one’s style and interests.
For those less technologically inclined, a scrapbook is a wonderful alternative. Craft stores have many options for books and added embellishments like stickers and decorations. You or a friend or family member can print out the stories you wish to include or can write them out by hand.
Layout each page of your scrapbook on blank pieces of paper before you begin affixing anything in the final book. This will give you the opportunity to make adjustments to the layout and the order of pages. Once you are sure you know how you want the book to be laid out, begin gluing down the key elements like stories and photos, then add things like quotes and stickers.
Presenting the Life Journal
Once your project is complete, share it with your loved one. They will enjoy reading the stories as much as you do. If your loved one is willing, you can also schedule a family book release where the family can come together to enjoy the book and share additional stories.
At Crown Hospice, we are here to offer help and resources to help make end-of-life planning easier. Call us at (361) 575-5900.