As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, I’ve been confronted by the profound precarity of life, and last month, I decided to finally interview my mom. To my surprise, we spent nine hours talking over several weeks. Part way through the process, two of my mom’s closest family members became hospitalized with COVID-19, deeply underscoring the importance of doing this “work” (as my mom described it) for both of us. It was fun, surprising, hard, and ultimately, so worthwhile.
Asking your mother to share her life story isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if you find yourself thinking that this might be the time to jump in, here is what I learned . (I also suggest reviewing this excellent background information
on how to do an oral history interview).