Telling the story with LifeChronicles.org

Telling the story with LifeChronicles.org

We have all had a relative that is sick or living their last days either because they are sick or old. We have all wanted to remember those people that changed our lives or that gave us that one piece of advice that really helped us. Sometimes it is hard to let go and you want to keep a vivid memory of the person for the rest of your live that you can treasure and even remember once in a while. Or all the stories that people tell when they are old and age comes to them and that are amazing to hear and take you to times that only your imagination can recreate.  

For all those moments, wouldn’t it be great to have a camera and to record those memories, those moments? And wouldn’t it be great to keep those memories forever to show them to future generations? Wouldn’t it be great to have this service at a low price and with the knowledge that you are helping others? Well, there is an organization in Santa Barbara, California that does exactly that. They provide the service of videotaping the life stories of an elderly family member or a seriously ill loved one at no charge, only expecting a donation.

Image courtesy of http://www.lifechronicles.org/ at lifechronicles.org
Image courtesy of www.lifechronicles.org at lifechronicles.org

Let’s see their amazing story.

The story started in 1998 when Kate Carter was receiving the news that a very close friend that had breast cancer had been informed that her disease was advancing rapidly. Unfortunately, Kate´s friend had also been touched by a disease in her family when ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) took her husband 15 months before and she was left with the responsibility of raising three children by herself.

Kate felt she had to do something about it and while friends and family gathered money and help to provide for the future care of the children, Kate collaborated with her friend to produce a video that would keep her love alive for her children for years to come. This is where the inspiration came from to provide such service to everybody that needed it. It was not really a service she provided, but more like a gift because she thought that it could be done without investing a lot of money and with the help of people that had the ise in video taping and editing.

The work of LifeChronicles is seen in a different way. Their idea has always been to give comfort to families in crisis and giving them a way to remember their love ones forever. They ask families to donate to the extent that they are able, but no one is ever turned away due to economic status, even if the amount they can donate is very low or if they can’t donate anything at all. A testimony that makes the organization proud is that of a mother whose baby passed away and she videotaped him. She says “I can’t touch him or smell him, but I can see him and hear him and that means everything to me.” And this is exactly why Kate Carter started this charity organization.

When people are elderly and we already know the cycle is almost over, capturing their life stories and preserving them on film is a whole experience. The joy that families feel while videotaping the stories and the person and the relief clients feel when they can see the video over and over again is priceless. For those who are experiencing a serious illness, LifeChronicles wants to provide that video that all the relatives and loved ones will cherish.

Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture  at Flickr.com

The process is simple:

First the person has to contact LifeChronicles at LifeChronicles@gmail.com or by phone at 805-682-3411. You will find friendly and easy to talk to staff that will help you navigate through the details of accomplishing this very important gift that will be cherished forever.

They take care of everything because they take all the professional filming equipment to the scheduled, in-home taping appointment. Then, they gently guide their clients through the interview in order to make it as a natural as possible. No preparation is necessary. Then, the video goes to the editing and production stage to then become a DVD of the whole experience.

They go a step further and help the family and person stage all the scenario and environment required to generate spontaneity and emotional richness.  They include all the family and the personality of the main character, from their most trivial mannerisms to their deepest essence. To do this effectively, it requires more than knowledge of how to work a video camera. They are very respectful of confidentiality of all parties involved as well as each client’s beliefs, wishes and unique circumstances.

Take a look at this article about another organization in Santa Barbara