The Phone Calls

She was given a gift certificate to save her story with me.

But during our first phone call, I heard:

“I’m too sick.”

“I don’t have my photos anymore.”

“I don’t have room in my apartment for you.”

“I have nothing to say.”

Sadly, the reasons to abandon a project that hadn't even started just kept coming.

For each obstacle, I proposed a solution.

And then in a despondent tone, she shut down and said, “My kids don’t care about my story. It’s too late.”

I hate to hear those words. I don't even believe those words. Yet, I respected her decision.

I don't force anyone to share their story. It's not right, and I won't do it.

So, we agreed to postpone her gift.

About a month later, she made two phone calls. The second was for me.

Ring. Ring. “Will you come and save my life story this weekend? I just got off the phone with hospice.”

And then she said,
“My kids don’t care about my story. It’s too late.”

What She Really Wanted

I rushed to her bedside, expecting to record only fifteen minutes at a time as she caught her breath.

She spoke for nearly six hours without a real break.

This courageous woman whose past was painted with accomplishment, fear, and love, knew exactly what she wanted to say, and she wanted someone to listen.

And, when I asked her why she was finally willing to meet with me, she said, “Because I want to be in charge of how my story is told. I love my children, but I don’t want them to tell my story.”

She wanted the power of the pen.

She knew exactly
what she wanted to say.

The Power of the Pen

Years ago, while I was working in a corporate job, a colleague gave me an astute piece of advice,

“Always offer to take the minutes of a meeting. The person with the pen has a lot of power over how the meeting is remembered.”

The same is true with your life story, your legacy.

You know your story better than anyone else. You should be the one to tell it.

When will you take control of the pen? If you’re ready, contact me for a short conversation, and let’s see how I can help you.

If you’re not ready just yet, subscribe and keep reading my newsletters until you are.

You have no idea who your story will empower.

But it can’t empower anyone until you take control of the pen.

Want to create a Life Story Heirloom™?
Check out the workshops offered in
my Life Story School today.


This publication is based upon personal experience, research, and education. Although the author has made every reasonable attempt to achieve complete accuracy of the content in this article, the author and Sunday Dinner Stories assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or inaccurate information. For privacy reasons, some names may have been changed or omitted. The content is not intended to replace common sense, legal, medical, or other professional advice; it is meant to encourage, inspire, educate, and inform the reader. That means you should consult with your attorney, doctors, and other professionals if you have any concern about implementing our advice. But we hope you'll consider us your memoir professionals and will consult us for all your storytelling needs!


© 2021 Michelle Beckman, Sunday Dinner Stories, All rights reserved internationally.
Please contact us to request permission to use our article.

12 thoughts on “The Power of the Pen”

  1. Oh my goodness! This made me cry. So relatable on so many different levels.

    Thank you so much for the beautiful work you do in the world. What you do matters in more ways than one. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. This is a very powerful piece. This is a story I will pass on from from behind the chair. I have people of all ages who tells me stories as o do their hair or nails, knowing that it’s a safe place to share. Many times tears are also shared.
    Telling your own story and taking power of the pen holds true for each of us.
    Thank you for your words..

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Kelly. I’m sure you hear lots and lots of interesting and heartwarming stories in your line of work. Please encourage your clients to save their stories as much as possible.

  3. I love how the advice you received early on in your career had such a profound impact on you and how you serve others in this world.

    Telling our own story, how we want to be remembered is an empowering thing for us to do.

    Thank you for sharing!

  4. This is so powerful. I knew the phrase about the power of the pen, but I’d never given it thought in the context of your life story. Such good food for thought.

    • Oh, Dawn . . . You are not alone. I hear that sentiment from nearly everyone who learns about my business. I encourage you to write your own stories to prevent your descendants from having the same regrets. If I can help in any way, please reach out.


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