The other week a friend talked me into interviewing my husband about our experience since his injury and what it’s been like for both of us to juggle his needs with the needs of my dad and grandmother. Our life sounds pretty busy when I put it like that!
I’d never thought of doing an oral history with someone who isn’t really old or famous. But you can do an oral history with anyone.
At first the idea of doing an oral history seemed pretty intimidating. I don’t know the first thing about it and had no idea where to start, but that’s where StoryCorps comes in. They’re a nonprofit that’s out to get everyone talking.
I was nervous about the experience (hence, needing a friend to talk me into it), but it was actually great. My husband and I rarely talk about caregiving, even if it’s basically taken over our lives for the past few years. We spend so much time reacting to the things that come up every day, we hardly ever step back and talk about the big picture or what our experience is really like. I share that with my girlfriends, but not my husband. I didn’t even realize I was keeping him out of the loop about something that’s so central to our marriage.
Some people share their stories publicly. If you decide to, add a link in the comments!
Here are some questions to get you started [PDF].
If you’re not sure how to start, you can try listening to some stories first. The Caregiver Space has shared some caregiving stories from StoryCorps:
- 5 stories about love and memory loss
- 3 parents talk to their kids about mental illness
- 7 stories of caregiving families
- 3 people tell us how much their caregivers mean to them
- 5 patients interview their carers
- 4 carer stories told in their own words
I live off of food from Trader Joe’s. I spend my life in a cubicle, a la Office Space. I’m kind of obsessed with the internet.
Confession: I take care of people but don’t identify as a caregiver.