We often think of our lives as a book, living it chapter by chapter. Often we say, “well, that chapter of my life is over,” as we move on to another. The COVID-19 chapter is not one that we expected to experience.

The chapter is different for each of us. For some it is inconvenience of not finding what we want or need when we shop; for some it is canceling eating in a restaurant or going to a movie; for others it is canceling a vacation or visit from family and friends; or not having a place to donate items.

For others it is more than inconvenience. It is doing without essential supplies. It is not being able to work or to volunteer for much-needed community services. For those who are alone, it means more aloneness and loneliness. And there are those who have a family member or friend who is diagnosed with the virus. Worse yet, is to have lost someone.

What are you experiencing? What are your frustrations, anger, fears, concerns, questions and how has this altered or changed your life? Are you being more frugal? Are you forced to make decisions concerning your future that maybe you hadn’t considered?

Our parents and grandparents carried the burdens of 1918 Influenza, WWI and WWII, the Great Depression, and the Dust Bowl. It tested them. This is our test and our burden.

I facilitate Storytellers: Writing your family stories, a monthly special interest group for members of Southern Arizona Genealogy Society here in Green Valley. We write the stories of ancestors and so often a wrier says, “Oh, how I wish I had listened to my grandma,” or “Why didn’t someone write this down?” What were their stories about their trying times?

I remind the group to write about their own life in one-page stories — that way they can focus on one idea. For example, a current assignment is to write about their first day or week of kindergarten or first grade.

I encourage you to write about this new chapter in your life. It does not have to be composed with proper grammar or punctuation There are many ways to preserve what you are experiencing. Write in that pretty journal that you received as a gift and haven’t used. Make a scrapbook with newspaper clippings, photos, and your personal notes. Some thoughts and feelings lend themselves to a poem or a song. Or maybe just an outline or a list. The important thing is to write it!

I highly suggest that if you are journaling on a computer or other digital device, that you download it onto a labeled memory stick or print your writing and put it in a binder or file folder. Chances are that your stories left on the computer will be overlooked, thus lost forever.

Preserving our history for future generations is keeping us alive in their memories.

Please take good care of yourselves and each other.

Becky McCreary is newsletter editor for the Southern Arizona Genealogy Society. Contact her at rebeccamccreary764@gmail.com or visit the society’s website at azsags.org, where her columns are archived. The articles may not be reprinted without written permission of the author.