getting started  

The statement "I am not a writer" is often the biggest barrier to writing a Remembrance.  Relax.  All you need to do is to be sincere. 

It may help you to draw up a timeline of your loved one's life. Fill in the timeline with milestones of important dates and events. Start with his or her birth, then include: childhood, adolescence, education, career, family life, and community participation. As you read and build this timeline, stories and the special recollections will come to mind.


Sometimes it is easiest to compose the introduction last. It only needs to be brief and is usually a statement or quote that sums up the person's life or character.

Some suggestions include:

  • Your loved one's favorite expression or a story he or she regularly told that displays his or her personality and character.
  • An inspirational or poignant quote.
  • Something uplifting that someone has said about him or her -- maybe an employer, community leader, workmate or friend.


There is no right or wrong way to write. Do so as if you were talking to someone on the phone or writing a letter about your loved one. It sometimes makes interesting reading to include quotes from your loved one, and his or her friends or co-workers.

It may be easiest to divide the body into informal sections such as:

  • Personal History
  • Family and Community
  • Personal Qualities
  • Favorite Stories, Events and Interests

Use the following questions to rekindle the memories. There is no need to answer all of him or her. Think of him or her as a prompt. What does each question bring to mind? Write that recollection down.

Where was your loved one born and raised? What sort of environment was it - culturally, economically, socially and politically?

What stories did he or she tell about growing up? Did he or she have any adventures? Was there adversity or illness to overcome?

Did he or she have an early emerging talent or personality trait?



What school did he or she attend? What was school like? What stories did he or she tell about school or university?

Was he or she in the military? Did he or she experience war or peacetime? What stories did he or she tell about military life? Did he or she receive medals or recognition for heroic actions?

What was his or her first job? What did it mean to him or her?

Did he or she travel or have adolescent adventures?

Did he or she experience a romantic courtship? Did he or she marry? To whom?

Did he or she raise a family? Children? Grandchildren? Great Grandchildren? What did the family enjoy doing together? Did he or she take vacations?

Did the family face hardships or challenges?



How did it affect him or her when the children left home?

What did he or she most want to teach his or her children?

What did he or she like best about his or her community? The people? The place? How did he or she contribute to the community?

Were he or she witness to an historic occasion? How did that affect him or her? Did he or she meet any famous people? How did the meeting come about? What happened or was said?

What did he or she do with his or her spare time? Did that change over the years? What activities did he or she enjoy? Sport? Gardening? Fishing? Footy? What did he or she like best about these activities?

Did he or she have an adventurous or eccentric streak? Were he or she creative - art, woodwork, music, food, writing, poetry, drama, dancing, comedy or storytelling?

Did he or she have a favorite place? It might have been anything from his or her armchair, the garden, a city, or a foreign country? What did he or she like about that place? Did he or she travel? Where? How? With whom? What was his or her favorite travel story?

Which seasons or holidays did he or she like? Why? How did he or she celebrate it? What was his or her favorite way to spend time with friends? Did he or she party? Fish? Walk in the garden? Play Chess? Who were his or her closest friends?

Was he or she a fan or collector of anything? Did he or she have a favorite pet or possession? How did this shape his or her life?

Was he or she spiritual? How did that affect his or her daily life? How did he or she find fulfillment? What was his or her idea of a perfect day? What was the best thing that ever happened to him or her? Did anything happen that changed his or her life?



You may like to sum up his or her personality, character or life's journey. Maybe you would like to include a parting message from your loved one. This is also a chance to write words of goodbye that you may not have been able to voice.

There are also many beautiful poems and passages that are appropriate. Perhaps your loved one had a favorite? Maybe he or she had a favorite song that you know the lyrics of?