Thanks for the Memories
Who would we be without our experiences?

What is a memory?

Sounds like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? Memories are just the people, places and events we lock away in the ol’ brain-box, aren’t they? Most scientists will tell you that a memory is the encoded information resulting from stimulus and the firing of synapses, and stored in various regions of the brain, depending on the type of memory being formed. But they’ll also tell you that the truth is, they don’t really know how the brain stores memories — or why we can’t find our car keys.

(There is a fantastic National Geographic article about two ends of the memory spectrum here).

While we might not know exactly how memories come to be, we’re fairly certain of what they are. Memories are, quite frankly, what define each of us, the collective experiences that color our character and paint our personalities. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, Who would you be if you didn’t know who you were? Memories are much more than who we were — they’re who we are.

At least, while we have them.

Like the people they belong to, memories are imperfect creations, often fleeting, or failing us as time goes by. When we die, too often those memories are gone with us, the memories and stories so precious to the people we leave behind.

What do you do to help people save and share those memories? As funeral directors, you can help people create fitting memorials for their friends and family members, and help them save the stories they hold so dear. You can help preserve those memories for future generations. And you can help celebrate what those memories mean to the people in the pews and chapel chairs.

Or, you can simply continue business as usual, as the profession changes all around you. But if you’re not careful, it’s your profits that will become just a memory.


Don Shell is a staff writer for Life Story Network®, a Portage, Michigan-based multimedia company serving 15 independently-owned funeral homes in the Midwest. For more information, visit, or email Don at