July 21, 2017

The continuing impact of Personal Legacy Archives

'I'm going to watch it a million times':

 Dave Pantinella+Sister

Dave Patinella, 44, of Long Beach, California, and his sister Gina Rae Witt, 43, lost their father Guisto Patinella, in 1994 from cancer at age 63. Back in 1971, Guisto had recorded a commercial for Allstate Insurance, but his children had never seen the video. As a wedding present to her brother, Gina contacted Allstate to find the video, and they managed to track it down on an old reel of footage. The company then filmed the siblings' touching reactions to 'seeing' their father for the first time in 20 years

Days Before He Died, This Teen YouTube Star Left Behind A Video That's Inspiring Millions

Ben Breedlove was the kind of kid everyone wanted to be. But he had a heart condition that he knew could make every day his last. What he did with his final days inspired millions.

 Ben Breedlove2

Je suis le bebe (link to YouTube video with English subtitles)

 Francine Christope

Francine Christophe was only eight when she was sent with her mother to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.  She tells a wonderful story about a piece of chocolate that concludes some 60 years later.

Heartbreaking Story Of A Man Who Took A Polaroid Every Day For 18 Years Until The Day He Died

The project began on March 31st, 1979, when the native New Yorker (and then a college student) took a single photograph. He then took a picture every day for the next 18 years, a tradition he maintained right until the day he died in 1997. Armed with a Polaroid SX-70, Livingston went about documenting every facet of his daily life, from friends, family and relationships, to his job as a filmmaker and photographer and the everyday happenings on the streets of New York.

The latter stages of his project became more introspective as he documented his battle with cancer following his diagnosis in 1997. ..Jamie left behind a project comprised of over 6,000 pictures, and in them, he left a truly remarkable life portrait unlike any other.

'If you are reading this, I have passed'

After Mitchell Whisenhunt, 26, of Longview, Texas died from complications due to Marfan's Syndrome, his wife, Ashley Whisenhunt, discovered 30 letters  he left behind for both her and their young daughter. She says the most special letters, however, are addressed to their 1-year-old daughter, for which there are letters each year from ages two to 18. Now they will open one on every birthday and anniversary after he died, so Mitchell will continue to live on in their lives.

Dying of Cancer, Beth O'Rourke' Did a ‘Magnificent’ Thing Before Her Funeral That’s Touching Hearts Far Beyond Those She Loved

Those who knew Beth O’Rourke said the Massachusetts wife and mother of two — who died last week after a seven-year battle with cancer — was nothing if not a big-time planner. Her husband Brendan said, "Beth liked to plan everything. She planned the funeral. She planned anything you can think of. She didn’t want the burden on her family.”  She wrote her own obituary

“I died Thursday, April 16, 2015 surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and anam cara, Brendan Patrick O’Rourke.  I was 44 years old. I was a survivor. I was blessed in this life with two amazing children; Courtney Elizabeth age 11 and Seamus Brendan aged 8....

“I LOVED my life,” Beth added. “I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children. We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs! Brendan and I enjoyed many trips together, most enjoyable were those to Ireland, visiting family to share a pint and some good 'craic'.”....Of all the things I did in this life, nothing compared to being with Brendan and our children. I fought every day to stay alive and to be with them. No person could ever ask for a more loving and supportive husband, always my champion, always. I enjoyed every moment we shared; the great ones, the sad ones, the easy and the hard.

But cancer does not care who it takes, who it hurts, or honor or love. It comes into your life and starts to break the threads that hold you and you are left to see pieces of yourself slip away and dreams fade. We were clung only to each other with pure love and faith binding us, in the end is when the most amazing thing happens, cancer loses its strength and grace appears. We need to see it. We accept it, and go with it. Grace and love win, not cancer. ....

Beth ended her obituary with, “Forgive someone today and fill that spot with love.”

Sometimes, someone else captures what you can not.

Heartbreaking video of father singing ‘Blackbird’ to his dying newborn son just days after his wife, 30, died in her sleep

During the pregnancy, Ashley would often feel Lennon moving to music so Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for his dying son. Lennon James Picco was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks after Chris' wife Ashley unexpectedly and tragically passed away in her sleep. Musician Chris Picco singing Blackbird to his son,  .  Hours after Chris tenderly serenaded his baby son, Lennon died, aged just four days...
"I have been so blessed and honored to love him before he was formed, to cherish him while mommy carried him, meet him face to precious face, and hold his perfect little body while we said "goodbye for now".

 Chris Picco Sings Blackbird

James Wright Foley was a freelance war correspondent during the Syrian Civil War when he was abducted by ISIS in November, 2012, in northwestern Syria.  He remained a captive until he was beheaded in August 2014. Because he American, he was not allowed to send any letters so he asked a fellow hostage, a Danish photojournalist who was due to be released to commit his letter to memory.  Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye Ottosen, 25, spent 13 months imprisoned alongside Foley and, when released, his first call was to Foley’s mum Diane, when he dictated the lengthy letter to her.

Parents of James Foley release the heartbreaking and hopeful final letter he sent home

In his final words to the ones he loved, James Foley thanked his family for getting him through his almost two year hostage ordeal, saying the memories of home 'takes me away and happiness fills my heart'. He mentioned every family member  - his mother, his father and his grandmother, who he was very close to, his brothers and his sisters and his nieces and nephews. He ended on a hopeful note by saying he’d be there for his sister Katie’s wedding.

‘He said he loved them all and he knew they loved him and were praying for him and fighting for his release. "I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray."
Posted by Jill Fallon at July 21, 2017 1:15 PM | Permalink