5 Thoughts on Writing Your Story

Author: Karen Vaughn

5 Thoughts on Writing Your Story

Shortly after Aaron’s death, I began jotting things down that I didn’t want to forget. I felt the need to capture every detail of our last moments together on earth — how he hugged me that last time, the posture of his body as I walked away from that final hug, the exact words we exchanged on our last phone call.


I’m so thankful I did that because just a short five and a half years later I’ve picked those notes up and found myself thinking, “Oh, yeah. That’s right. I’d forgotten that.”

It’s a good practice to sit down and write out everything you can remember about that missing face, the missing smile, the missing laughter. Here’s why:

1. You know you’ve captured it.

I don’t know about you but my greatest fear is forgetting. I know I’ll remember the broad strokes of my son’s life, but I need more than that. By collecting my memories on paper I have relieved the pressure and/or fear I might feel about forgetting details I do not want to forget.

2. It soothes your soul.

Since I can no longer interact with Aaron, I often feel closest to him when I’m writing about him. The pen (or keyboard) somehow brings to life what is no longer present. If you’re not currently writing down the memories you shared with your loved one, you might be surprised at how real he or she feels when you pen the details of a moment you shared that meant a lot to both of you.

3. You don’t feel like you’re bothering your loved ones.

I want to talk about Aaron every day. He never leaves my mind. I felt a lot of pressure in the early days of loss to remain silent when Billy (my husband and Aaron’s father) seemed to be having a good day. Writing allows us to express whatever we’re feeling at the moment without the fear of disrupting another loved one’s progress.

4. It makes you smile.

You know how it is when a group of your family or friends are sitting around a table telling stories about that loved one who’s no longer with you? When those moments come to pass in our home, we inevitably start sharing stories that make us all laugh. It’s good for the heart. The same thing happens when you start writing. The funny things will come to mind. And a smile will most definitely spread across your face.

5. It creates a legacy.

Whether you endeavor to write a book (as I did) or simply capture your memories for no one’s eyes but your own, you’ve wittingly or unwittingly recorded your loved one’s legacy. One hundred years from now, someone could come across your writing and somehow feel as if they “knew” your hero. I love that thought. We raised a son who deserves to be remembered. Your loved one does too. 

From the pen of…

Karen is the surviving mother of Navy Special Warfare Operations Chief (Navy SEAL) Aaron Vaughn and has written a book about her son’s life and legacy titled “World Changer: A Mother’s Story.” Her book is now available on Amazon.