My (beloved) mother-in-law died after a year with lung cancer and we will be having a big memorial for her this weekend. What can we do to capture stories and memories from her family and friends?
This is me
from last year. I am very grieved that I didn't get many stories out of her and didn't do a good job of writing down the ones I did get. The end came as a surprise. I'd just figured out how to get her talking (It was wine and cheese all along!) and was planning on setting up a big story session the next trip. I'd really like to lean on friends and family at the memorial to help me capture as much as I can and preserve it for the little ones who didn't get the chance to know her.
I managed to get some photos and video during our first visit after the diagnosis, but she did not want to be captured on camera after her treatment started. However, the family has also been wonderful so far and I have lots of pictures from her whole life that I'm making into a slide show that will be projected during the service.
My father-in-law has envisioned the memorial as a place where people can one-by-one share stories. I'm not sure how many people will participate or feel comfortable speaking in front of that many people. Plus, I think most of us are going to be a mess. I'm not sure what we're going to do with videos of us in complete emotional disarray.
I'm planning on having a stack of stamped, addressed, blank post cards that people can take with them and mail later if they have something to share.
But other than that I'm not sure what to do. There are going to be a lot of people there, her co-workers and people from her home town, who we will probably never see again. If they don't feel comfortable sharing it's like little pieces of her will be walking out the door forever.
Maybe there isn't much we can do about that, but right now everything I have fits into a shoe box and it's killing me that I don't remember enough of what she told me to fill more than a few sheets of notebook paper.
So, I need suggestions for getting people talking, capturing what they're saying, and giving them different ways to share, all while giving people the space they need to grieve.