St Neots mum Verna creates personal memory book

Verna Caulkin, with her book

Verna Caulkin, with her book - Credit: Archant

A St Neots mum has created a personal memory book aimed at encouraging people to compile information and mementoes that can be passed on to loved ones after they die.

Rather than being morbid, the journal, which has recently been published, provides an opportunity to present family members with a detailed diary of favourite photographs, films and songs, a record of personal milestones as well as important information about last wishes and wills. There is also a section for financial information where bank account and insurance policy details can be recorded and a sealed My Send Off envelope.

Author Verna Scott-Culkin, 47, who has two teenage children, says she hopes her book entitled Before I Go encourages people to think about what they would like to pass on or share with family, friend and future generations.

“What would you want them to know about you that maybe you never said? If we all had the chance wouldn’t we leave this world and our loved ones with some of our invaluable advice and musings,” said Verna.

Verna, a swimming teacher who lives in Ferrars Avenue, Eynesbury, came up with the idea for the hardback book after losing people close to her.

“Having lost my father to cancer and mother-in-law to Alzheimer’s we now have two empty chairs around the dinner table at our family get-togethers. Around the same time, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was a busy mum of two young kids, working, running the house and although she went on to make a full recovery, I wondered what would happen if she wasn’t there any more. Yes, life would go on, but what if there was a guide to ‘her’ that she could leave behind.”

Verna and her husband Giles talked about creating a book that could be filled with advice, wishes and even recipes.

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“My dad could have filled in his privately and my mother-in-law could have filled hers in on her good days and my friend would have been able to take control when it felt like her world was collapsing around her.

“So many people take all their thoughts, hopes, sayings and wishes with them - maybe we should all have that conversation and start putting pen to paper. I believe this book could make difficult moments more bearable and give those who are left behind a useful, thought-provoking, funny and unique memento of their treasured someone.”

INFO: Before I Go is available from Amazon and Waterstones.