Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Last Gift

Michelle Wallace had advanced terminal cancer, diagnosed the day she gave birth to her fourth child. Wallace knew she would not live to see her newborn son, Toby, grew up. "Her biggest fear was that he was not going to remember her," Kallie Greenly, Wallace's adult daughter told the Wall Street Journal.

But before she died in 2011 at age 43, the Journal reports, Wallace recorded a 17-minute video for her son, telling him about her life.

That video (the Journal called it a "legacy video") will not replace the mother that young Toby lost far too young. But it will give him something. It will give him a sense of who his mother was (including her favorite curse word!), in her own words, when he is old enough to really appreciate it.

It is the last gift Toby's mother gave him, and someday it will be one of the most valuable things he owns.

Stories like this are why we do what we do. It is why we believe that everyone needs to have their story saved, to tell future generations who they were, what they were about, what mattered to them, how they grew up, how they raised their kids, their good times, the bad, and the ones in between.

These videos (we call them "personal documentaries" or "video biographies" but legacy videos works, too) don't just tell children and grandchildren about their forebears, they tell them a lot about themselves.

Obviously, we'd love it if people hired us to make a 75-minute PBS-like documentary about their lives. But we also can do simple interviews that are much more affordable. Even if you try to do it yourself, it really is important that you save your story, or that of your parents or grandparents.**

It will be the greatest last gift you can give.

**We have tips for do-it-yourselfers. Click here to read some.

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