I have always tried to live my life with no regrets. That said, my biggest one is not getting my parents’ stories down in writing. My mom, I realize now, was quite the storyteller. My dad, though I didn’t really get much of his life tales until well into my adulthood, had a varied life worth knowing. Born in 1921 and 1920 respectively, the planet was different indeed.
Perhaps my mind is so fond of fantasy that hearing other peoples’ tales gives my imagination a good ride. But personal stories are much more than that and my friend Robert Moynier of Cambria has realized such and is doing something about it. His “LifeStories” business was born out of his work with hospice.
“I have loved the spoken word since I was a child,” Moynier said. “My seven or eight years of hospice work and grief counseling brought to light how unique everyone’s stories are. At that stage in their lives, that unique, sacred situation, they have no reason to be anything but absolutely honest. Men, especially, were perhaps more apt to share with another man than a woman. I appreciated that.
“They have stuff they want/need to say but not necessarily to someone in the family as they don’t want to upset the apple cart. But, those stories need to be told. I would often find myself saying, ‘Wow, how did you get through that?’ More importantly, I realized, is that everyone has a story, not just on their deathbed. We all have some bit of history, some wisdom, some humor or other will make someone else’s life richer.”
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And so Robert, my fellow K-Otter alumnus, started checking out how NPR’s Story Corps and other recording programs worked. There are some out there that come from different perspectives and techniques. The last six months he has been developing his own technological proficiency (with the help of Willie White, who went to Coast Union High School with his son) to get the ball rolling.
“I realize the need to share gets much more acute as people get older. I want to make it as easy and comfortable for them as possible,” Robert said. After an initial phone conversation when they figure out what direction they do or don’t want to go, he sends them out a list of suggested questions to answer.
“I may prompt them along the way to help them achieve what they want to achieve. We can also edit sometimes we all say something we wish we hadn’t! I believe the biggest part of this is, for a lot of people, this may help them find some sense of meaning to their life, some resolution, to articulate it — it brings it through the ‘now’ lens.”
With Moynier’s warm voice, comfortable and supportive demeanor, non-intimidating equipment (you can opt for a CD or a DVD; rates start at $325 for audio, $395 for video)), people now have an opportunity locally to do all of the above.
The gift that keeps on giving — to yourself as well as others! Check him out at www.yourlifestories.org. Personally, he’d probably never shut me up just sayin’ haha.