FAQs for “Full Life” Story Support
Family memories are the most perishable of inheritances, so don’t allow yours to be lost.
Sadly, the Matter of Life service is something that people usually think of only when it is too late. There is no better time than now.
Where families have the time and resources we would encourage them to facilitate the process themselves. However, through our experience we have learnt the value of having an experienced person who is independent of the family to facilitate this process. This can often ‘free up’ clients in exploring their life fully to someone who is not likely to have assumed knowledge, or preconceived ideas.
At Matter of Life we pride ourselves on our many years of experience, attention to detail, open and curious approach. We are well aware of the time and resources involved in storytelling and publishing and are very happy to assist your family in honouring your loved one in this way.
2. Storytelling Process
Every life is extraordinary however not everyone is suited to the service.
The intention of our service is that it is a pleasurable experience, rather than a burden. Whilst families may wish to capture their loved one’s story, often a person’s health condition or feelings of anxiety can mean the process is too burdensome and therefore unsuitable.
However, I am well experienced in encouraging those clients who may simply be reluctant, self-effacing, have difficulty expressing themselves or those who are high achieving and perfectionist.
Based on my considerable experience doing this work I can determine whether the service is suitable in your case through our initial meetings with you and your loved one.
At Matter of Life we remember that it is first and foremost our client’s story.
For this reason, life story telling recording sessions are usually between Francis and our client. Every story is unique and it is important that they reflect the person’s voice and point of view. In some unusual cases, a family member may be present at the discretion of Matter of Life should we recognise that their presence is giving reassurance to our client and retaining the ‘voice’ of their story.
Matter of Life also recognises the important role of carers, and our service can be a valuable time of respite and rest for busy carers.
Family members often play a vital role in assisting Matter of Life to access photos and memorabilia to include in the life storybook.
Sessions usually take place in a quiet room at our client’s home. This can also include a room at an aged care home or another venue mutually agreed upon with Matter of Life.
Video calls (Skype, Zoom or FaceTime) can be arranged with clients anywhere in the world provided they have a reliable internet connection and the video calls take place in a quiet and private room.
At Matter of Life we are clear that it is our client’s story and we are mindful of not asking too many questions. Matter of Life is as much about good reflective listening (as opposed to a journalistic interview) and minimal questioning only to keep the story flowing or to ensure that details are understood by the reader.
For those clients who have difficulty starting, Matter of Life is well experienced in suggesting useful starting topics and we also assist in sequencing events chronologically.
The bulk of time is spent working on the words (transcription, editing, drafting, proofreading, sequencing, reviewing and approving drafts, insertion of photos, design and styling of the book). Whilst Matter of Life works as efficiently as possible, we are committed to delivering a service at the highest level and producing a life storybook that embodies the life and ‘voice’ of your loved one.
Story telling sessions with our clients usually occur once a week – more often if there is an urgency and we have the capacity to do so. It is important that Matter of Life and our clients develop a clear schedule of sessions together, however have some flexibility around life events.
Matter of Life will endeavour to clearly communicate with clients and families around expected timeframes and unexpected delays.
Sadly, sometimes clients may not be able to finish their life story due to illness or death however Matter of Life believes that the process has still been valuable to reflect on and celebrate their life.
In these circumstances, Matter of Life will liaise with the family on publishing what was able to be written, with families often choosing photographs. However, it is our obligation to tell our client’s story and we would not change the words as they were recorded by our client.
3. Life storybooks
For consistency the style used is based on Manual: for authors, editors and printers (6th edition), however as each life is unique, the styling of your life story is adapted to capture and reflect the essence of our clients.
Once a life storybook is published it is registered as ‘First Edition’. If you seek to update, make additions or revisions then please contact Matter of Life around producing subsequent editions.
Life storybooks are as long or as short as they need to be. Most stories will come to their natural conclusion in the telling. Matter of Life can provide some support to clients around finishing or have a discussion around the unusual case where extra sessions are needed.
As Matter of Life supports your loved to write and publish their life story and owns the copyright of final publications. Therefore no part of the publication may be copied, or transmitted in any form except extracts for the purpose of family events, and no part of the publication may be sold or hired without the written permission of Matter of Life.
Once the final publication is produced, all material (audio-recordings, hardcopy and electronic drafts) will be destroyed unless the client has given written consent for copies of the final publication (hardcopy and/or electronic) to be held by Matter of Life for the purposes of promoting our service.
For more information see our Terms & Conditions