Ensuring the Story Never Ends

I’ve been reading “Option B,” the book Sheryl Sandberg wrote on how to build resilience and find joy. After her husband passed away suddenly, she had his close friends and family members share stories about him on video for her kids to watch as they got older.

She writes, “Losing Dave taught me how precious video is: when I see photos of him, I long to see him move and hear him speak. Now I take videos as much as possible. My kids used to duck whenever I began recording them, but since they started watching these clips to remember their father, they smile and talk to the camera."

Reading her book resonated with me, especially when I start to think of the families I get to help in this way. I often ask my clients - typically the children of an honoree - to share what a video project has meant to them, but I don't usually ask the honorees. Recently, I had the chance to get this other perspective from Jerry Friedlander.

Every time you jot down a personal story, label photos from the past, or share stories with your grandchildren, you are doing important work.

As Sandberg writes, "When children grow up with a strong understanding of their family’s history - where their grandparents grew up, what their parents’ childhoods were like - they have better coping skills and a stronger sense of belonging. Narratives might sound 'light' - how important can a story be? - but they are how we explain our past and set expectations for our future.”

Whether you hire a professional, have a relative with a nice camera or use your own iPhone, make sure you continue to record these stories of your family members. As Jerry says, doing so ensures that the story will never end.

  1. Nancie Kennedy
    December 22, 2017 at 14:30

    Debbie - a good video testimonial for your work - thanks to both you & Jerry Friedlander for sharing it. Happy Holidays to you & your family - see you in the spring when we continue Kennedy Family stories.