About twenty years ago my mother died of a Cerebral Haemorrhage. No warning, no planning no goodbyes. About ten years ago my father died of lung cancer, this was a long lingering farewell. Though both events were incredibly sad, the hole left by someone dying suddenly is difficult to fill in a way that is impossible to explain and beyond compare.
Shortly after the death of my mother I put pen to paper and wrote a letter to each of my two sons. The letter was my farewell, though I had no intention of going anywhere. It was really difficult to write and I cried several times as I scratched my way over the keyboard in my three finger typing style.
The letters contained messages of love and friendship and my dreams for each of them and a few short stories about them growing up. They included short stories of when they made me particularly proud and some advice for each of them.
My two boys are completely different, both beautiful caring strong sensitive young men with their difference best summed up by saying one of them gets anxious if he doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring and the other is always seeking something different for tomorrow. The letter writing gave me a sense of comfort knowing that if I were to bid a hasty departure from this life, my boys would have some conduit to their father. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next though.
Having taken the time to think about what I most wanted to say to each of them and what I felt was most important not to leave unsaid, (and they are two different things) I then began to act differently. Not hugely differently. Not so the family thought I had met-my-maker-in-a-stroke-or-heart-attack kind of a way. But differently none the less. I was more thoughtful, less reactive and much quieter. I began to be much more chilled out about them and their future. Which was nice for me and I’m sure was much more enjoyable for them too.
After all, as I said in my letter to them, above all else I wanted them to know the luxury of having been unconditionally loved by someone and to feel happiness. Neither of these things will be more likely to happen by me fussing about it.
Little did I know at the time that this correspondence would be the precursor for my business some fifteen years later. The Life Log Project helps people do this in a modern way using high quality audio recording. Of course the log can be used for lots of other things too. I have produced logs for people who wanted their families to know things after they had died, to explain divorces, to explain choices, to shine a light on an event or just to supply a delightful back story for the sake of posterity.
What I have noticed is the effect is has on people after they have committed to recording their inner most thoughts. They start to live them