How to decide if it is memories or just stuff?

how to decide
How to decide if it is memories or just stuff?

Are all the items in your living space sentimental clutter or valuable memories that you simply can’t live without? How to decide if it is memories or just stuff?

As a life writer, this question sneaks its way into every interview I do with clients. ‘I keep nothing, it’s just clutter’ some say, whilst others tell me ‘It’s the memory it brings’.

Memories or Just Stuff

Material possessions are a way of recalling emotions of the past or reconnecting with someone who is connected to that item. Reconnecting with a special memory through a material object can be an amazing experience and leave you joyous and excited. Equally, if it is a sad connection, it can ignite strong negative emotions of hurt, anger or guilt.Continue Reading

Significant Birthdays

significant birthdays
Significant birthdays are a rite of passage.

Significant Birthdays evoke Forgotten Memories. It’s a Rite of Passage

Significant birthdays evoke the most forgotten of precious memories. Those memories carry such strong messages on how quickly times passes and those precious events that for no reason were shelved but are now given permission to be dusted off and enjoyed and discussed. It’s a rite of passage and those memories should never again be hushed into a dark cupboard.

Recently I attended such an event of a couple celebrating their 70th year.  This couple preferred small groups of friends gathered together to enjoy each other’s company and over a wine, relive many memories that most had forgotten.

It was amazing and inspiring to hear the individual memories that people had retained and held close for decades. The white gold ring with a small diamond given by two older sisters to a third (and younger) sister was produced and it was evident that this ring had been worn and cherished for 45 years. The older sisters struggled to remember and couldn’t believe they had never noticed the ring being worn and yet, the younger sister had worn it lovingly and thankfully. How excited they were when many other such memories associated with that time, became stimulated and oozed out from the three sisters.Continue Reading

Mother’s Day Tribute

Mother’s Day is a reminder to reflect on the wonderful woman who nurtured us and worked tirelessly to make our journey through childhood what it was. Those memories are too precious to be lost and getting them in print is a wonderful way to preserve life messages for generations.

You might find a few hints here to help you with your memory reflection.

  • When reflecting on memories, it is helpful to take a thought and let it flow. In this following excerpt from my personal memoir, the thoughts were triggered holding my mother’s hands in her nursing home. Equally, you could use a photo, an artefact or some other item. 
  • Take the time to sit in the moment. This process may take hours or it could take days or even weeks. It took many weeks for me to sit fully in the moment of the thoughts regarding my mother’s hands.
  • I was able to find historical context and used that to support the story. The historical context also provides insight into the life of a young mother in the 1950’s and young people of future generations may take life messages from the story.

If you would like help with your life story, I am happy to work with you on your memoir. Give me a call Rose 0407 487 495.

My tribute to Mother’s Day

Personal letter
A Personal Letter of Life Celebration is priceless

Excerpt. 2016. Rose Osborne Memoirs. Growing up in Central West, NSW. Unpublished.

My Mother’s Hands

My mother’s hands are soft and artistically designed by events and challenges of her long life. Her hands are a road map of all that came before. No expensive soft and creamy hand lotion ever touched those hands and yet they remain tender and gentle on her lap in her nursing home. No doubt the endless emersion in water hydrated the tissues and allowed any roughness to dissipate and fade away – washing the kids, washing the dog, washing the car, washing the floor, washing the dishes, washing the clothes – did it ever stop for my mother in the prime of her life as a mother of seven children in a NSW country town during the 50’s and 60’s.

Every day of the week was allocated a category of washing – Monday was sheets day, Tuesday was towels, Wednesday was kids’ clothes and so on. It was never-ending. The sheets day was the most gruesome. My mother would be enslaved over a copper boiler which viciously boiled those white sheets until they relieved themselves of every spot of dirt and grime – and no doubt they needed quite a bit of boiling to rid themselves of the marks and stains of all us kids.

The boiled sheets were lifted out of the steaming water with a thick wooden stick that was shaped like a baseball stick. The stick directed the cooked sheets to pass through a double wringer, two rollers with spring tension that attempted to squeeze water from the pathetic desperate material. Mum was expert at folding the sheets flat, so the contemptible wringer would accept them into its rotating and suffocating jaws. One slip and I knew, even as a child, Mum’s fingers would have been history. If Mum was distracted just for a second, and those sheets were not folded flat, the aggravated wringer would jump and shake, dancing violently, afraid of no-one, not even the stick. I was terrified for Mum and often thought how she could face this dangerous job.

I was four years old, but the memory of this sheet washing ritual is deeply ingrained into my fearful events mind map. It may also have been because of Mum’s reaction to an innocent comment I made about the horrors of the whole washing ritual.

‘How can you do this?’ came out of my innocent mouth. 

Mum burst into tears, threw the stick against the copper washer and yelled at me ‘Well, you do it’. Her whole body shook and trembled, and the tears were like heavy falling rain from a summer storm. Mum was red-faced, and the sweat was pouring from every pore of her body.

I vowed there and then at the age of four years of age, that I would never do this dreadful ritual. I was not to know that technology would improve to the extent that I did not have to do it, but the fear I was experiencing at that moment, was horrendous and paralysing. When the terror let go of my little legs, I ran and hid under the bed for what seemed an interminable amount of time.

This practice of hiding under or in my bed when I am distressed remained a lifelong habit.

 

Mother's Day
Mother’s Day thanks

Ring me for a Mother’s Day voucher to complete your Mother’s tribute and story. Let’s make a difference to your generations.

M: 0407 487 495

E: info@thewritingshed.com.au

Mother. Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day Tribute.

 

Enjoy this article on the same subject. Washday Mondays

War Stories are part of Family History

War Stories are like deep underground rivers of a network of experiences

War experiences are such personal and sensitive stories. Whether they are from recent wars and conflicts such as Afghanistan or Vietnam wars or earlier world wars, the impact on those involved and their families is dramatic and life-changing. Telling your story in whatever way you wish can be a powerful tool to work through emotions and mental health. It is so important to family history that the contribution made by veterans is documented and acknowledged. The life messages that will be generated could make such a difference to younger family members and those of the future. 

A few years ago, an elderly lady contacted me about writing her life story. When we were half-way through, she commenced crying.

Womens Land Army
Source: Australian War Memorial. ARTVO1062

Women’s Land Army

We had reached that part of her life when she enlisted in the Women’s Land Army as her personal contribution to the war effort. Her story poured out through her tears and laughter as she recalled the harshness of the working conditions, the friends she made (and the difficult personalities), the jobs she had to perform and the social activities that the women invented to amuse themselves.

‘This is a wonderful story’ I told her. ‘I expect your family knows all this?’

‘No’ she replied. ‘They were never interested. This is the first time I have told anyone.’

Now it was my turn to cry. This wonderful woman, who was now 81 years old, embarked on this journey when she was 18 years of age, as an act of responsibility to meet the shortage of rural labour in Australia. She was a city girl and embraced farm jobs that would challenge any strong male. She adjusted to the heat and cold, dust and insects, long hours working outside and minimum wage and leave opportunities.

Young Vietnam Soldiers

The project led me to wonder how many others involved in the war effort, talk about their journey. As a young trainee nurse, I worked in Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney, during the Vietnam War. We heard many stories as we did back care on the young soldiers when they were bed-bound, or when we were dressing their wounds or just sitting with them in the darkness of the ward after lights out. The psychological support we provided was just as vital to their rehabilitation as the medical and nursing duties that we provided. The stories bubbled out of them like a deep underground river of experiences which had gathered from a network of sources. We were allowing the young soldiers to tell their story however they wished, and we provided no judgment or criticism. We were under 20 years of age ourselves and today, I marvel at the maturity my peers and I displayed. 

Australian Soldier
August 1968.
Australian Soldier. Double amputee.
Concord Hospital
AWM LES/68/0312/BC

I remember one young soldier thanking me for listening. He could not tell his family of his experiences because of guilt and shame that he felt, but also because he wasn’t sure how to control his feelings of anger and confusion. He thought the family didn’t want to know but were happy just to have him back safe.

War Journals

War stories are important. I was contacted last year by an elderly gentleman who had his aunt’s war journals dating back to the 1st World War and wondered what he could do with them. I read some of those articulate entries and realized how powerful and important the stories were and what a roadmap of the aunt’s involvement in the war effort and illustrations of her character and personality.

Don’t lose their stories

These stories are so important to families and send such an important message to young people of today. The courage and commitment of those involved in providing services to their country in whatever format must not be lost.

If you have a family member who would like to tell their story and have it documented in a book, please contact me. The journey will be a wonderful recognition and they will thank you as it may be something they have secretly wanted all these years.

Ring me today and let’s get to work.

 

‘God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battle line, Beneath whose awful hand we hold dominion over palm and pine—Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget!’

Recessional. 1897. Rudyard Kipling.

Another war story that needs to be told

References

Australian War Memorial.  Australian Women’s Land Army.  Accessed online Australian Women’s Land Army

Images

Australian War Memorial.  Sydney NSW August 1968. Liet. Gordon Lyall Simpson (24). and Nursing Sister Kay Worsley. Concord Repatriation Hospital. Accessed online  AWM LES/68/0312/EC

Australian War Memorial.  Australian Women’s Land Army  Accessed Online.  ARTVO1062