Legacy of Memories: Telling Life Stories and Last Wishes

Denise Carson

in Parting Ways

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251083
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949416 | DOI:
Legacy of Memories: Telling Life Stories and Last Wishes

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Across America, family members, hospice volunteers, nurses, and even doctors encourage hospice patients to leave a legacy of memories to their family. This chapter describes the author's experiences related to the legacy celebrations. It provides a clear picture of the work of Elizabeth Vega (a life review guide and ghostwriter for the dying), by whom the author is invited to a legacy celebration for a hospice patient in St. Louis, Missouri, around Thanksgiving 2004. She is not able to resist the invitation as Elizabeth's mission of leading hospice patients on a tour of their past life to create life-story books for posterity and, more important, to rewrite the last chapter of their life, deepens the author's quest. She mentions Elizabeth as an end-of-life planner as she provides the map, organizes the resources, and hands over the tools for people to articulate and then complete their mission before their last breath.

Keywords: legacy of memory; Elizabeth Vega; life review guide; last wish; end-of-life planner

Chapter.  8982 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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