“It is true that sometimes the best things said come last.
Your [memoir’s] ending need not be lengthy,
but surely you will want it to come from the heart.”
(Frank P. Thomas, How to Write the Story of Your Life)
When you craft your memoir’s Grand Finale (your conclusion, ending, postscript, or epilogue), make it personal.
Consider addressing your readers by name: your children and grandchildren, if your stories are for them, and even speculate on readers you’ll never know because they have not yet been born.
Leave your readers with a benediction, a blessing.
Lee Eclov, in “Let Us Stand for the Benediction,” explains what a benediction is not: It is not “a kind of churchy, Hallmark sentiment.…”
He says a benediction “isn’t a wish. We really shouldn’t say, ‘May the Lord bless you,’ the way people say, ‘May all your dreams come true.’ The benediction is a declaration: ‘The Lord blesses you—he really does!’ It doesn’t tell us what God will do for us, but what God is doing ever and always for his people.” (Lee Eclov, “Let Us Stand for the Benediction,” Leadership Journal, Winter 2009; emphasis mine)
With that in mind, in your memoir’s Grand Finale, pour out heartfelt, personal words—of God’s blessings and of yours—that will cling to your readers the rest of their lives.
Here is a benediction based on Philippians 4:7, “May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds.”
Consider 2 Corinthians 9:8 for a benediction: “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Acts 20:32, Romans 12:2, and 2 Corinthians 13:11 will give you good ideas for benedictions to include in your memoir’s Grand Finale.
Here is my favorite benediction:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace.
Lee Eclov describes Numbers 6:24-26 as the “one blessing [that] is the source and summary of all others.”
Eclov reminds us of God’s instructions to Moses: Aaron and his sons were to use those precious words to bless the Israelites.
“This blessing was Israel’s national treasure, their holy heirloom," Eclov writes. “This national blessing began with God’s promises to patriarchs, unique promises of success, safety, and significance. In these three lines, God summarizes what he would always bring to those who trust him.”
When you craft your memoir’s Grand Finale, search for words to impress upon your readers “what God is doing ever and always for his people.” Create a “holy heirloom” for your family, a declaration of God’s blessings that will anchor them in your family and God’s family.