During our recent trip to Texas, I had the privilege of interviewing my sweet sister-in-law’s mother. My sister-in-law has been talking to me for a while about wanting to write her mom’s personal history, so that was another excuse for our wonderful, multi-purpose Texas travels.
I had met her mother before- eight years before, to be precise, at my brother’s wedding. So I didn’t know her well before we sat down together Sunday evening. But by the end of the night, we were crying and laughing together, holding hands and embracing. That’s one of the true beauties and joys of this work: I learn about ordinary people’s extraordinary lives, weep and laugh with them, and forge very real human connections.
This interview was extra special because my sister-in-law was involved, too. We planned ahead and decided on questions, and I coached her on technique. This was a training session so she can continue the interviews in future sessions when I’m back home in the desert. Because both daughter and mother had shared many of the experiences we discussed, she was in a unique and wonderful position to help prompt her mother and fill in gaps or another perspective.
It was an uplifting night I will always remember. And despite her feelings of inadequacy, this mother and grandmother shared many beautiful and profound lessons and truths that will be cherished treasures for her family forever.
As we recall the past together, we are both blessed. Doubly blessed. It really is a privilege to be a part of what become sacred experiences where tender feelings are shared and soft tears are shed. Reflect on the challenges and triumphs of life, and rejoice.
Don’t leave your tale untold…
How to capture a loved one’s personal history: Part 1- Interviewing technique
How to finalize your personal history for printing: Part 1- Editing and finalizing text
The Power of Reflection and Writing: why you should reflect on life and how writing your personal history can change your attitude and actions
Storytelling might be bad for academia but it’s good for people
4 Reasons You Should Be Recording Family Stories
Doubly blessed: Interviewing to capture personal and family history
Some Blessings Come Early, Some Blessings Come Late, Some Come All Along the Way