In today’s Monday’s Link Roundup, if you look at nothing else, I highly recommend Noah St. John’s ‘The Last Mile’ [Video]. It’s tour-de-force storytelling by a 15-year-old boy. And for some excellent scanning advice from the Library of Congress make sure to read Scanning: DIY or Outsource.
- Protecting Your Digital Assets in the Afterlife. “Many consumers have gone down the virtual path, accumulating online store credits and using PayPal to buy goods and services. But digital assets, which include anything from social networking profiles to email accounts to websites, can have value far beyond money. So the question remains: What happens when you pass away?”
- Rare color photos of World War I. “Photographer Anton Orlov recently discovered over 600 color images from World War I on “Magic Lantern” slides in a house in Northern California. The images depict snow-covered villages, train tracks, bullet-riddled buildings, and soldiers in trenches, by houses and on trains. The slides were hand-colored and are still in good condition.”
- Scanning: DIY or Outsource. “At our personal digital archiving events, we get various questions about scanning family photos, slides, negatives and film. Questions like: What type of scanner should I use? What resolution should I use? How can I scan negatives? While we’ve focused on developing tips and resources for saving personal digital materials created with software and hardware, we recognize that individuals have the both analog and digital materials and are looking for guidance on how to deal with both.”
- Virginia Woolf on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary. “A fairly late journaling bloomer, she began writing in 1915, at the age of 33, and continued until her last entry in 1941, four days before her death, leaving behind 26 volumes written in her own hand. More than a mere tool of self-exploration, however, Woolf approached the diary as a kind of R&D lab for her craft.”
- My sons and I were linked in by Lincoln. “I was disappointed not long ago when my 21-year-old son, John, turned down my invitation to see the movie Lincoln. “I am not into politics, Dad,” he said over the phone. “Forget politics – think history,” I responded.”
- Noah St. John’s ‘The Last Mile’ [Video] “This is the first of series of stories from a new partnership between The Huffington Post and NPR’s new hit storytelling program, “Snap Judgment,” hosted by Glynn Washington. And it’s a good one.” [Thanks to Sally Goldin of Tell Me A Story for alerting me to this item.]
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Posted in Monday's Link Roundup
Tagged 'The Last Mile', death, diary, digital preservation, Do it yourself, father and son, How to, Huffington Post, Library of Congress, Lincoln, link roundup, Magic Lantern, Noah St. John, NPR, outsource, Photos, Preservation, rare, scanning, Snap Judgment, stories, storytelling, Tips, video, Virginia Woolf, World War I Photos
Mom at twenty-three
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that every Monday is devoted to Monday’s Link Roundup. This Monday is different. Yesterday Mom died at Victoria Hospice at the age of ninety-three.
Mom always believed that when she transitioned to that other side, she’d be met by my Dad, Ed Curtis, who died in 1990. I like to think she was right. And whether by coincidence or design her death took place on their seventy-second wedding anniversary. They were married December 18, 1939.
Throughout my life Mom was one of my biggest fans and supporters. In many ways she introduced me to story telling at an early age. An avid reader, her favorite activity before going to sleep was to read a few pages from her latest book. Every morning I would eagerly run into her bedroom to sit by her bed. There, she would relate the latest installment – no doubt censoring some of the racy bits for the ears of an eight-year-old.
She also regaled me with stories from her teenage years when her family homesteaded in the wilderness of northern British Columbia. Eagerly absorbed by a young boy were tales of encounters with grizzly bears, hunting, and snowy winter nights, hunkered down in their log cabin.
People have remarked that it’s sad that Mom’s death came so close to Christmas. In part that’s true. I certainly haven’t had time in the past few weeks to think much about the holiday season. But central to this time of year is the message of peace, comfort, and joy. And I’ve experienced all of those in a personal and profound way. Mom and I were surrounded at Victoria Hospice by loving and compassionate care. Her final days brought her comfort and her death was blessedly peaceful. And we had joyful moments – reminiscing about Christmases past, enjoying cups of her favorite tea from her favorite cup, and laughing at this comedy called life. One of the last things she said to me, opening her eyes briefly was, “Having fun?”
I miss her dearly. My world has changed forever. But surrounded and supported by my loving partner, friends, and colleagues I’ll carry on doing honor to those values she tried to instill in me – kindness, loyalty, grace, and a good sense of humor.
Posted in End of life, Holidays, Inspiration, Palliative care
Tagged Christmas, death, End of life, holiday, hospice, Inspiration, memories, Mom, Palliative care, Victoria Hospice
Not really but we’re a superstitious bunch. Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. The number 13, black cats and walking under a ladder – all unlucky. We can add another – writing your life story means death is imminent. It sounds absurd but from my experience this fear is alive and well.
I’ve had adult children of aging parents approach me and say, “We’d like to get Mom’s life story recorded but we’re afraid she’ll think that her time is almost up.” I’ve also had some folks in their 70′s tell me, “I’m not dead yet! I’ll get around to my life story later on.”
So what’s the basis of this reluctance? I think that none of us really wants to confront the fact that we’re mortal. Of course, we know that one day the lights will go out - but not today, thank you very much and hopefully not for a long time. So when the idea of recording one’s life story comes up it sounds as if we’re doing a wrap up – kind of like writing your will and pre-arranging your funeral. As I said, we don’t want to be reminded of our mortality.
What’s the solution? You need to confront the elephant in the room. Don’t skip around the question of mortality. You might say something like, “You know Mom, you’re not getting any younger and sadly some day you won’t be around to tell us the wonderful stories of your life. You know so much family history. I know that one day your grandchildren and their chidren will be so grateful that you took the time to record your stories. Right now you’re in good health and able to do this. What do you think? Can we get started this week?”
If you encounter some hesitancy, ask Mom if there are questions she might have about the actual work itself. She might want to know how long it will take or whether she has to remember dates and names and so on. If you answer all her questions and you still sense some reluctance, don’t push. If you push too hard she’s likely to dig in her heels and you’ll get nowhere. Just say something like, “You know Mom, let’s leave it for now and next week I’ll check in with you again. I really hope you’ll say yes to this. It would be such a wonderful gift.”
The time to begin a life story is now because we really don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
Photo by Robert Simmons
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If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
Isaac Asimov (c. 1920 – 1992) science fiction writer
Any of us may be only six minutes away from dying. We don’t know. Yet we live our lives as if somehow it will never come to an end. I frequently encounter people who keep putting off writing their life story or helping a parent with theirs, thinking that there will always be a tomorrow. Sadly, many of those stories never get told. I think we all need to “type a little faster” and get our stories down.
Photo by kev needham
For all of us who’ve ever lost a faithful pet, their death is a terribly painful experience. Now there are a growing number of companies who produce memorial pet videos. Most combine your favorite photos with music and deliver these on a DVD. Some of these pet legacies are more elaborate. Family Legacy Video a Tucson, Arizona based company can produce a documentary style video on your pet. Here’s what they have to say:
The foundation of your Pet Legacy Video™ is you – an on-camera interview where you recount your favorite memories and stories and talk about what your pet has meant, and continues to mean, to you. If your pet still lives and hasn’t crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he or she can appear on camera with you. Then, Family Legacy Video will tape you and your pet enjoying quiet times, having fun or doing whatever you most like to do together.
Other sites you might want to check out are Thomson Films and Diotte Video Design.
Photo by Roger H. Goun