I discovered late in life the meaning behind the quote by Anthony Brandt, “While other things may change us, everything begins and ends with family”.

It is quite easy to get caught up raising a family, managing a career, and planning for retirement that we lose site of other really important things. Like most other adults, my journey of discovery happened later in life and led me to create OurStoriesAreUs.com – just in time.

Ten years ago I visited my parents while on a business trip. Both Mom and Dad had been retired for over 15 years, living off of social security and a Navy pension.  While both were mentally alert and financially comfortable, they shared with me that they felt like they were a burden on society and feeling guilty that they were no longer making a contribution.


What’s a son supposed to do with that sudden bit of information?

I was part of the problem being too busy to visit very often and spend any quality time with them. I took their love for granted as they took mine. It didn’t seem important to try to take the time to nourish that relationship. After all, they lived across the country and everything seemed fine.

However, now having heard Mom’s comment, I felt a need to find a solution. That solution came in the form of a family website – a private website where Mom and Dad could record their stories and share their life experiences with us kids and future generations. But it wasn’t just the website, it was more than that.  

I realized quickly that this project had become one of the most important things I’d done with my life – renewing Mom and Dad’s’ sense of purpose as they set about documenting their life experiences. They were engaged in a task of personal interest to them and they were uniquely qualified to do it. They felt they were creating something of value for us kids and for future generations. And they were right.

But even more importantly, there was also a very significant real-time result in this project in the process itself.  It was the bonding experience that followed as a result of me helping them share their stories. That bonding effect lasted long after the project itself. During the process I learned more about them as individual’s (not through the lens of their child) which in and of itself added dimension to our relationship.

This experience was something I wanted to bring to other families  and thus – the creation of OurStoriesAreUs.com.

We all have family members worthy of remembering and there are plenty of reasons to do it. It’s up to you to take the step to get it started. We would be honored if OurStoriesAreUs can help.

Ken Bredemeier
OurStoriesAreUs.com, Founder
7326 N. Harlem Ave. Unit 2E
Chicago, IL 60631