Monmouth County's Ask The Doctor May - June 2021


The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Family is Share Your Story By, Richard Squires, Writer, Editor, Publisher and Speaker

The story of Your Life is priceless. When your chil- dren and grandchildren understand what joys and challenges you experienced on your journey, they see themselves as part of a larger narrative. It’s a fact: people who know more about their family have bet- ter emotional health and happiness. They feel what’s called the “intergenerational self ” (Feiler, 2013). I’ve experienced this myself. Growing up, I listened to my grandfather’s life stories, especially his adven- tures flying fighter jets in the Pacific during World War II. I marveled at the raised scars on his leg, and I felt fortunate that he’d been brave and lucky. One day, midway through my second master’s de- gree in writing, Grandpa asked if I would write his story. He’d begun but realized it was no easy task. He preferred to speak it and let me edit his words. “Absolutely!” I shouted. Over the next few weeks, I learned a lot about Grandpa, and our bond strengthened from solid to gold. Of all the stories he shared, one gave me the a-ha moment that changed my life and inspired me to launch LifeStory, my memoir writing business. On many of Grandpa’s missions sailing across the skies, the enemy launched projectiles that ex- ploded in the air and sent out flak, shards of met- al. During one battle, the flak hit Grandpa’s plane and tore a massive gash in the fuselage. Pieces went into Grandpa’s leg. They also went into his co-pilot’s head, killing him.

Grandpa bailed out, parachuting down through gun-smoking chaos to land in the ocean, where sharks surrounded him and other soldiers. Holding onto their radio flotation devices, which they called Mae West after the beautiful—and curvy— actress, they waited for the Coast Guard to pick them up, and hoped the sharks wouldn’t creep closer. Thankfully, Grandpa suffered no further injury, and was eventually rescued. The intensity with which Grandpa relived this story thrilled me beyond words, and I could see it benefited him to know it would be captured in his words as part of his legacy. It made me feel as though his story is a part of my legacy as well, that my “intergenerational self ” has a rightful and important place in history. At LifeStory, I do for my clients what I did for Grandpa—I write their memoirs. The benefits span the generations and strengthen the families. If you’ve been thinking about writing your memoir, or are looking for the perfect gift to give someone who already has everything, reach out to me. I’d love to write your story.

Publishing Enterprises, Inc. GUNTHER


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