Emergency Information

Writing memoirs captures special memories

31 May 2021

For Verena Weimann, writing memoirs of people at the end of their life was never something she planned to do.

Verena became involved in writing memoirs about 13 years ago through Benalla Health’s Palliative Care Service, undertaking training on how to best capture the stories people wanted to tell.

“I record the stories they want to pass on and is gives them a chance to look back and reflect on their life,” she said.

“People often start by saying that they had an ordinary life, but once I sit down and they start talking, their life is very interesting and fulfilled.

“It is a real pleasure for me and very good for people to be able to tell their story this way.”

Verena said the memoirs of people had been used at their funerals.

“Often when I give people the final printed version of their memoirs, their families are with them and they are just so grateful to have the story of a loved one’s life captured this way.”

Verena said she usually visits a person a few times to record the story on a digital recorder before taking it home to transcribe what she has been told.

“It always amazes me how each life, so different from one another, harbours so many wonderful stories of personal achievements and love,” she said.

“I always feel privileged that they opened their door and heart to me and I feel enriched by their life story, and more than not, I can also see how proud they are when they received their printed copy.

“We meet as strangers and we part as friends.”

While volunteers are not back working at Benalla Health, anyone wishing to express interest in being a memoir writer is asked to contact Community Engagement and Volunteer Coordinator Debra Ellis on (03) 5761 4222.


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