I've been promoting my Storytellers Portrait and Video Experience around a lot. If you've been in my presence anytime in the last several months, chances are you've heard me mention it. I promise I'm not just talking about it for business sake- this special session I have created for my studio is very personal to me.
It's true that Storytellers was primarily conceptulaized due to my realization that I had nothing left of my now-deaceased-grandparents..... no recorded voice messages (I had to replace my phone and with that meant losing all of my data from my prior phone), no current and updated portraits of the either of them that I could reflect on the way I remembered my life with them, and no home videos with their voices or personal letters or recorded messages to me. This, of course, wasn't intentional on their part. It just wasn't thought about before they passed on.
But, what has also motivated me to push forward with this concept is that I have had a couple of cancer scares in my life since becoming a parent myself.
I developed some concerning cysts in my breasts shortly after the birth of my second son that just would not go away and I was sent for a mammogram and a more thorough ultrasound. Thankfully they were determined to be non-cancerous and one of those still remains, just hanging out. The other scare came just after my third child turned 1. I was all of the sudden peeing straight blood. It literally looked as if a bottle of dark red wine was coming out of me. For weeks. I had to have exploratory surgery and was told beforehand that they suspected to find a tumor somewhere based on the other symptoms- or, lack-there-of. Apparently urinating blood without the association of other symptoms like pain or bacteria detected on a urinalysis typically meant bladder cancer.
Again, thankfully nothing was found other than an annoying kidney stone hanging on for dear life in my kidney. They suspect it to be the culprit to all of the bleeding.
But do you know what the very first thing I thought of after both of those cancer scares was (before cancer was ruled out)?
My children. I vividly remember crying in the corner of our bedroom next to my side of the bed thinking about the fact that they were still so young- just babies- and they might not have any memory of me at all if in fact I do have cancer and I don't make it. I immediately became determined to make sure I would journal and leave meaningful messages to them- making sure that they could never forget their mothers love for them. I wanted to tell them about myself and my life and my upbringing. How I had planned to raise them and what I wanted for them in their own lives. That became immensely important and necessary for me to do.
That last cancer scare took place late 2017. I came up with Storytellers approximately 1 month later. But my latest cancer scare was kind of the icing on the cake for the idea because now it became even more personal. I realized how I can't be alone in wanting to preserve my legacy and love for my family. I don't want to be buried and "forgotten" over the years (ok, I know...not really forgotten but you know what I mean. Life does move on).
So circling back around to the title of my post: If I had the power and where-with-all as a granddaughter to gift my grandparents a Storytellers session before they had gotten into a condition where it was too late, I would have done so in a heart beat. I so wish I would have thought about it back then. How I yearn to hear their voices again and listen to their words of wisdom- the things they want to come true for me. The strengths they see in me. Something I can just plug in and hear anytime I wish. And I would have absolutely loved to have been able to hang a sincere and updated portrait of the each of them on the walls of my home and point them out to my sons. To tell them all about them and why I loved them so much. What they would have thought about my boys if they were still alive.
And can you imagine how great that would have made them feel to receive such an amazing gift? Something that was truly all about them again and not just another photo of their granddaughter that they already have so many of? That I would have given them another chance to feel truly appreciated and valued- so much so that we want them to know that we desire to remember them forever and ever? To have something that we can always have access to and easily watch when we are missing their presence? That surely would have given them so much peace knowing that, even though they would be gone and not have any physical influence to help us in our grief anymore, that their touching words of wisdom and messages to me and my sister and our parents, aunts, uncles, etc. would have been here to comfort us in place of their them.
Which brings me back to why gifting a Storytellers session is also one of the greatest gifts you can invest in for your own self. Because when they do pass on, those heirloom portraits and legacy video will be passed on- perhaps to your parents first but then eventually back to you.
So, don't wait until it is too late. If you are someone who has a parent, grandparent, or other loved one who might be staring death in the face- get in touch with me. I want you both to have this. Or, if you are someone who feels ready to document your own life story and legacy *just in case*, please contact me as well.
And, if you are someone who has lost someone recently and would like to leave a tribute- you may do so here. I love hearing about everyones stories!