Gathering Ideas to Help You Write

This list (available as a printable pdf here, and also in an expanded version in our new anthology, Who We Lost: A Portable COVID Memorial) is intended to help you gather ideas before you write and offer some hints to help you decide what you wish to say about who you lost. Don’t feel self-conscious about using these questions as a way to remember because anything that helps you through a difficult time is a good thing. You do not need to answer all the questions, and you are not restricted to them. It’s not a school assignment. These are simply ideas. Your memories are what matter most . . .

  • Who did you lose?
  • What did you call them? (did they have a nickname?)
  • How would you describe their personality?
  • What is your earliest memory of this person?
  • Did they have a signature saying or phrase you associate with them?
  • Did they have a favorite joke?  Tell it.
  • What was their favorite color, food, music, movie/tv show, game, etc.?
  • What is a particular time you can recall that they were happy?
  • Can you recall a particular day that you spent together that has meaning for you?
  • Do you know any favorite stories about their childhood?
  • Do you recall any of their milestone stories about: learning to drive, going to prom, graduation, first job, getting married/divorced, becoming a parent, being in the military, retirement, loss of a loved one, etc.?
  • Is there something you wish you had said to them before they died?
  • If you could only tell one favorite story about your relationship with who you lost, what story would you tell?

The story can be big like a significant remembered event. Or a distinct, small memory, like a shared joke, a song, a recipe, a game, a saying, a treasured time and place, or a long-ago memory that has stayed with you and always will. Remember the details that matter.