This autoethnographic examination of family stories my mother told prior to her death explores the use of family narratives to frame and make sense of our lives. Family story telling is a joint construction of reality in an intermingling of lives in which it is hard to separate the “me” from the “us.” End-of-life stories are the ultimate in retrospective sensemaking. When this end-of-life sensemaking takes place communally, negotiated between family members, framing and sensemaking take on a new dimension. This paper shows that final stories serve specific sensemaking functions—revising familial boundaries, framing our lives, creating shared meaning and identity, and enhancing relationships. Ultimately, final stories create continuity between the past and the present. Understanding our family stories helps us understand ourselves.
Davis, Christine S.
"Final Stories: The Ultimate Sensemaking Frame,"
Storytelling, Self, Society: Vol. 4
, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/storytelling/vol4/iss1/1