Joy found in palliative care patients telling life story

Helping people create a written legacy: Robyn Swanson creates polished biographies. Picture: John Veage
Helping people create a written legacy: Robyn Swanson creates polished biographies. Picture: John Veage

ROBYN Swanson wants to spread the word about the importance of people recording their life story.

For many years Ms Swanson, of Gymea, has helped palliative care patients at Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst write their biographies.

"It is a therapeutic thing for people in that situation to do — it gives them an opportunity to reflect on their life and see value in their life," she said.

"It is a legacy to pass on."

After seeing how much value it had for patients Ms Swanson decided to set up Story of my Life, where she helps people to write their life story.

"People didn't have to be on their deathbeds to do it," she said. "By having someone listen to them, record it and give them back a book they felt acknowledged.

"By telling your life story to a biographer you have a captive audience, you're the hero of your story and I go away and do all the work."

This includes scanning photos, editing down the tale and turning it into a good read.

There are no minimum copies of books that the subject has to buy; often clients will buy several copies for their nearest and dearest.

"I really want people to understand that it is a fantastic experience to do this — it is so empowering to tell your story."

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