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Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,542
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

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Yesterday I was sorting through almost four decades of my personal journals.  I started them just before my husband and I began dating and I still journal to this day.

 

I read through the first few.  Some of the memories are absolutely precious and some are quite personal, others even sad. None of it reveals family secrets or would be compromising to anyone's privacy.

Still, I'm torn on whether or not to save them.  

 

I keep them in a beautiful trunk in my closet. I was thinking of enclosing a note in the trunk, telling my kids that they are not obligated to read them and I won't be offended in the least if they dumped them after I'm gone.

 

I really don't know what to do about them. 

 

Have any of you been faced with this situation upon the death of a loved one?  I'd really appreciate some honest feedback.

 

Thank you.

~ house cat ~
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,640
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

When my parents died, I found a box of letters my dad had written to my mom while they were dating.  

 

I kept them for a while, never read them and just recently shredded them.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,895
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

My mom journaled since she was very young.  She passed away at Thanksgiving and I'd love to read what she wrote.  Dad hasn't let us yet and that's ok since it's his call.  Someday I'll get to read them.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,113
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

I had an Aunt that I was very bonded and close with. She kept a journal all of her life and when she was sick she said she wanted me to have them. They are treasures!! I have and do really enjoy reading them. It makes me smile when I read about her daily thoughts and life over eighty plus years. I think you should keep them and put your note in with them and let your children decide for themselves. I am sure they will be a treasure to them.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,716
Registered: ‎04-14-2013

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

I'd wipe them out of existence.  They were written for you, no one else.

 

And yes, I have received "memoirs" of loved ones, when they passed.  They are gone.  Bogs me down.  If you ever read John Irving's The World According to Garp, you might understand that they remind me of the "undertoad".

Cogito ergo sum
Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,429
Registered: ‎03-27-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

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@house_catMy mother had an old trunk full of the love letters my father sent to her before they were married.  They were divorced after 25 years of marriage.  She toted that trunk every time we moved.  To my knowledge she never read the letters, but cherished and was burdened by a dream of the man who once loved her.  A memory of a love that no longer existed.  

 

If it was me, I would have a small ceremony acknowledging the feelings that were once a reality and the sadness of the loss.  Then I would release the letters (in whatever manner you feel appropriate) and look towards the light and beauty of the remainder of my life.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,236
Registered: ‎10-04-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

I've found family journals.  Let them go.  Your personal thoughts and feelings, shouldn't be found for people to go through.  You won't be there to explain it.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 23,732
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

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I sort of agree with the "let them go" or scan or photograph a few of the best memories and save them, either as digital files, photos or something that doesn't take up a ton of space, for future generations.

 

I think sometimes we are in danger of becoming bogged down in the past and the lives of those who came before us.  it's interesting to know some things, but I feel sorry for kids whose mamas hand them four shelves of scrapbooks to either lug around  or feel bad about tossing. 

 

The older I get, the less I am interested in someone else's past. . . 

Super Contributor
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎11-10-2015

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

After my dad passed away, I found his journal from when he as in WWII in the navy.  I not only kept it, read it I then passed it on to my siblings.  We all learned somthing from it.  I used to keep a daily journal when my DH and I travelled and now that he his suffering from dementia, he re-reads them and smiles and askes questions about the journals.    You might enjoy re-reading them when you grow old.    

   Just a thought.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,323
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Journals/Diaries of deceased loved ones.

@house_catAs long as there are no disturbing secrets in those journals, my vote goes to keeping them.  On one account -  when you get old, like any good piece of writing they will give you pleasure to reread them and escape to another time and place.  Further, they will be a window into you and your life that others may want to have.mmI love reading the letters and journals from the past from historical figures, so why not from my own family.

 

I didn't mean in any way to imply you might have disturbing secrets to tell -  I just remember I was angry with the woman in Bridges of Madison County when her family had to confront her secret life after she was gone.  I always felt she was selfish to have kept those pages!