Archive for legacy

Mom’s Boxes Part 8: The Gangster Hideout

The “farmhouse” after being painted white, pillars added, and lower windows remodeled into new front doors.

READERS: This is the sort of story I intend to write more of over the next few years to share with my family. It’s also the sort of story I encourage you to write about your own family! It doesn’t have to be fancy, with links to articles and such. Just capture the memories for future generations.

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What’s a photo without the story?

Who is this saucy young woman? Don’t know? Don’t care?

She looks like fun, though, doesn’t she?

What if you found this photo in a bin at Goodwill? For sale on eBay?

Would you buy it? Would you feel vaguely sad that somebody got rid of it, and move on?

What if you found her in your parents’ stuff and didn’t know who she was?

Would you keep, or toss? Would you try to find the story behind the photo?

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Planning my virtual funeral – who’s with me?

Planning my virtual funeralI’ve been talking and writing for a while now about organizing for your legacy. This involves doing things to make it easier on your grieving loved ones when the time comes, by preparing for your own death. Activities can range from writing your own obituary and planning your own funeral; to preserving your memorabilia and organizing your family history; to creating a virtual will and downsizing and decluttering now so they don’t have to later.

So, when I announced to my dad and brother, at a recent breakfast together, “Let’s talk about funerals!” they didn’t even flinch, replying in unison: “Whose? Yours?”

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A Valentine for Your Family: Planning for Your Legacy

planning legacy family willIf you got hit by a bus tomorrow, what would your loved ones be left with? Happy memories, or sad ones? Clutter and uncertainty? Or clear instructions and valued keepsakes?

What will your legacy be?

 

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Mom’s Boxes Part 3: Trip down memory lane

Me and Mike enjoying a picnic of lemonade and raisins in 1964 Indiana.

My brother, Mike, and I have agreed there’s something about going through Mom’s boxes that we hadn’t fully bargained for: Going down Mom’s memory lane includes going down our own memory lanes. This can be heartwarming, and great fun…and also embarrassing, sad, and exhausting. It feels like my life is flashing before my eyes in excruciatingly slow motion.

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Family History Lost & Found

My grandpa, dad, and brother

My grandpa, dad, and brother

Have you ever lost part of your family history and found it again? Do you still have unsolved mysteries that intrigue you?

In Puzzling Out Your Family History I talked about the joys and challenges of doing one’s own genealogy research. In The Gift of an Organized Family Tree I described my genealogy introductory package.  My new Family History Research Services web page includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), the first of which is, “What the heck does genealogy have to do with organizing?” In Gifts I Got from Mom, I shared more of my personal story.

And here’s how it all began…..

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Mother’s Day — Gifts I Got from Mom

Me and mom reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

Me and mom (and my little brother-to-be) reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

I grew up in a family of six, with my parents, three younger brothers, and few relatives. Certainly none that lived nearby. My parents did not share family stories or photos. Not really. There were slide shows of our own family vacations  that we all enjoyed, but nothing historical. I guess they were too busy working and raising us up. It wasn’t until I undertook my first genealogy project, in my 30’s, that I discovered, on my dad’s side, that I am from a long line of Quakers. Including Quaker Loyalists (wrong side of the Revolutionary War, maybe, but fascinating nonetheless) and prominent Quaker ministers. My dad, a Christian minister himself (later a VA chaplain), had no idea, despite the fact that there was only one generation separating him from full-on Quakerism. I guess his family didn’t share much either. (The last generation was largely disowned for marrying outside their faith and such, which is bad, but not as harsh as Amish shunning). Maybe I’ll write more about that for Father’s Day.

My mom was quite interested in my genealogical pursuits as well, offering up unsubstantiated but tantalizing “facts” and bits of lore I’d never heard before in my life, such as: (more…)

Talking about death won’t kill you, LOL!

Depositphotos_14013050_l-2015I recently spoke at a business networking luncheon attended by 80 people. My topic was “Who Will Check My Email When I Die?”

I worried that no one would want to come hear me talk about death, especially when it started snowing that morning. But they did! And they loved it. I could tell because they nodded, and laughed, and told me later that they had started conversations with their loved ones about virtual wills and such. Mission accomplished!

Here are some of the ways people reacted to my topic before-hand: (more…)

Aren’t You Dying to Know?

August 8 is Dying to Know Day. At least in Australia it is. My Aussie friend and professional organizing colleague, Lissanne Oliver, told me about it. It was started in 2013 by a group called The GroundSwell Project. Their mission is to develop programs that create cultural change about death and dying.

From their website:

Kicked the bucket. Croaking it. Pushing-up daisies. Passed over, on, away. The D-word.

We have no shortage of names for it, but when faced with death we are often lost for words. Our superstitions and fears about dying, and the discomfort we feel, affect our approach and experiences of the end of life. Here at The GroundSwell Project we reckon it’s time for an upgrade on how we go about our dying matters.

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Keepsakes: Legacy or Liability?

Mom's punch bowl, usually used for fruit, is being used here for pecans.

Mom’s crystal punch bowl, usually used for fruit, is being used here for pecans.

I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had with a garage or storage unit full of stuff they inherited from a loved one. These items represent a mix of emotions – memories good and bad; guilt over wanting to reclaim the space they occupy; fear that they will accidentally discard a priceless heirloom. They are paralyzed with indecision: Am I betraying my loved one if I part with this? Will I forget them if I don’t keep all their stuff? (I promise you won’t!) How, and where, can I get rid of it? How, and where, can I keep it?

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