CE Atkinson is creating a notebook for capturing end-of-life info/wishes/stories.
0
patrons
The history of the world is not complete until it includes yours. ~ LaRae Kerr, genealogist and author

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~ George Bernard Shaw, Immaturity

The letter you see at the top of this page was written to me by my dad in 1965. I was six months old.

Seven years later, he died of a heart attack.

Twenty-eight years later, I saw this letter for the first time, and it changed my life. 

The power of that letter is one of the inspirations for this project. The loss of my sister to Stage 4 cancer in 2016, a few weeks shy of her 60th birthday, is the other.

When my sister died, I understood like never before how difficult it is for family and friends to grapple with a long list of difficult questions – both at the very end of a loved one’s life and after they are gone.

My sister had a year between her Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and her death, and she made it clear that she wanted to focus on living and not talk about dying. I believe her desire to be positive may have prolonged her life, but being unable to get answers to many important questions was hard for my family. 

***
One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

After losing my sister, I thought a lot about how our experience might be able to help other families in the same situation down the line. 

I’m a writer, so I tend to bring that perspective to challenges.The idea that gelled for me was that people need to find a less daunting path to get past the wall of sadness and resistance that appears when you think about the end of your own life.

I thought it might help to create a less scary, daunting way to look at the preparations that all of us know – on a logical level – that we need to make. The quotation above from Jonathan Safran Foer captures the difficulty at the heart of this project: Sometimes the best gifts we can give require us to do things we don't really want to do.

And what would be a less scary, intimidating “way in”? After two years of working through ideas, I have settled on creating a simple notebook with questions, prompts, examples and suggestions to help all of us get started on compiling our information in a non-perfectionist, go-at-your-own-pace kind of way. It will go beyond nuts-and-bolts logistical info to also include sentimental content. (There are many more details on the Project FAQ on my project website.)

This notebook has two related mottos/guiding principles: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” and “Something is better than nothing.”

Supporting the project

I am leaping way out of my comfort zone to ask for your help to make this project a reality. I have my own business working as a writer and editor, and as a self-employed single parent, it's tough to spend big chunks of time working on unpaid work. I have already put many, many hours into it, but as a "passion" project, it has to live on the back burner.

The practical solution would be to table this project until a better time comes along, but I think all of us know that the ideal time rarely presents itself. I’ve had a lot of personal writing projects over the years that have languished in computer files and drawers, but I truly believe this notebook could help many families beyond mine. I don't want it to end as a nice idea.

At this stage, patron support would buy time for me to devote to finishing the content, getting it designed and doing further publishing research (it's an ideal candidate for self-publishing).

Thank you for taking time to read about this project; it means a lot.

Carla Atkinson


For more detailed info on this project,
visit The Parting Gift Project site.
Get in touch: paypal.me/partinggiftproject
Make a one-time donation via PayPal at paypal.me/partinggiftproject.

Tiers
Your name in lights + special access
$10 or more per month
Well ... not exactly in lights on a theater marquee!

But your name will be included in the credits for the final product (whether online or in print) as one of the earliest supporters.

You'll also get a chance to be one of the first to begin using the prompts that are going in the notebook. I'll be posting one or two at a time via patron-only posts. (I hope you will be inspired to use the prompts to start capturing your info and thoughts; I would value your feedback.)

Thank you!
Goals
0 of 25 patrons
When I reach 25 patrons, I will begin creating patron-only posts with single, simple prompts that I hope will provide you with a little inspiration (and nudging) to begin putting your own stories, wishes and sentiments on paper for the people you love.
1 of 1
The history of the world is not complete until it includes yours. ~ LaRae Kerr, genealogist and author

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~ George Bernard Shaw, Immaturity

The letter you see at the top of this page was written to me by my dad in 1965. I was six months old.

Seven years later, he died of a heart attack.

Twenty-eight years later, I saw this letter for the first time, and it changed my life. 

The power of that letter is one of the inspirations for this project. The loss of my sister to Stage 4 cancer in 2016, a few weeks shy of her 60th birthday, is the other.

When my sister died, I understood like never before how difficult it is for family and friends to grapple with a long list of difficult questions – both at the very end of a loved one’s life and after they are gone.

My sister had a year between her Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and her death, and she made it clear that she wanted to focus on living and not talk about dying. I believe her desire to be positive may have prolonged her life, but being unable to get answers to many important questions was hard for my family. 

***
One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

After losing my sister, I thought a lot about how our experience might be able to help other families in the same situation down the line. 

I’m a writer, so I tend to bring that perspective to challenges.The idea that gelled for me was that people need to find a less daunting path to get past the wall of sadness and resistance that appears when you think about the end of your own life.

I thought it might help to create a less scary, daunting way to look at the preparations that all of us know – on a logical level – that we need to make. The quotation above from Jonathan Safran Foer captures the difficulty at the heart of this project: Sometimes the best gifts we can give require us to do things we don't really want to do.

And what would be a less scary, intimidating “way in”? After two years of working through ideas, I have settled on creating a simple notebook with questions, prompts, examples and suggestions to help all of us get started on compiling our information in a non-perfectionist, go-at-your-own-pace kind of way. It will go beyond nuts-and-bolts logistical info to also include sentimental content. (There are many more details on the Project FAQ on my project website.)

This notebook has two related mottos/guiding principles: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” and “Something is better than nothing.”

Supporting the project

I am leaping way out of my comfort zone to ask for your help to make this project a reality. I have my own business working as a writer and editor, and as a self-employed single parent, it's tough to spend big chunks of time working on unpaid work. I have already put many, many hours into it, but as a "passion" project, it has to live on the back burner.

The practical solution would be to table this project until a better time comes along, but I think all of us know that the ideal time rarely presents itself. I’ve had a lot of personal writing projects over the years that have languished in computer files and drawers, but I truly believe this notebook could help many families beyond mine. I don't want it to end as a nice idea.

At this stage, patron support would buy time for me to devote to finishing the content, getting it designed and doing further publishing research (it's an ideal candidate for self-publishing).

Thank you for taking time to read about this project; it means a lot.

Carla Atkinson


For more detailed info on this project,
visit The Parting Gift Project site.
Get in touch: paypal.me/partinggiftproject
Make a one-time donation via PayPal at paypal.me/partinggiftproject.

Recent posts by CE Atkinson

Tiers
Your name in lights + special access
$10 or more per month
Well ... not exactly in lights on a theater marquee!

But your name will be included in the credits for the final product (whether online or in print) as one of the earliest supporters.

You'll also get a chance to be one of the first to begin using the prompts that are going in the notebook. I'll be posting one or two at a time via patron-only posts. (I hope you will be inspired to use the prompts to start capturing your info and thoughts; I would value your feedback.)

Thank you!