Sometimes it’s not until you lose someone dear to you that all the questions you wish you had asked come tumbling into mind. Joanna Helin found this when she lost her mother and it made her think about the emotional legacy we leave behind for our loved ones. So she set up Lifestorybank and is here to tell you all about it.
If today is your last day – and statistically that’s not as unlikely as you think – how will you be remembered? Dodgy images on Facebook, a half-written novel in a drawer somewhere, a large collection of ‘fat’ clothes and a few seriously un-cool handbags?
My story – and the questions I wished I’d asked
Our own demise is not something we like to think about – and I’m not suggesting you become obsessed, but I’d like to share my story with you to make what I believe is a very important and positive point, so bear with me.
When I was in my twenties, my mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour. While mum was ill, the denial, sadness and trauma meant I didn’t even think to ask the questions I now so wish I had.
Becoming a mum made the loss more acute
When I became a mother myself, the sense of loss was even more acute – I had so many unanswered questions about all sorts of things from pregnancy and childbirth to school and personal history. Things I never thought of asking mum when she was alive because I wasn’t ready to, I wasn’t at that stage of my life. I also wish I had more to remember mum by and that there was a way my children could know their grandmother – other than a few grainy videos.
Ways to store information
It was because of my experience that I started looking for a way for parents to store information about themselves – so that every child gets to know their parent or grandparent and has access to loving advice, cherished stories and memories from them when that person is not around.
And this is what how I came up with Lifestorybank – an online memory bank designed to do just that.
How it works
The memory bank is made up of a series of video clips recorded using a webcam. You are asked questions about your life by a friendly computer-generated interviewer and the answers are video recorded and stored online indefinitely as an emotional legacy.
You can do this at home, 24 hours a day and it’s completely private and secure. The idea is to spend a bit of time every now and then doing the interviews and to slowly build up a database of information. The service is intuitive and requires no technical expertise.
Free basic sign up
You can sign up to Lifestorybank for free – which includes three chapters of over 20 questions – this is something I hope everyone will do – or you can sign up for full membership – at a one off fee of £90 for 30 chapters.
Emotional legacy vs. financial legacy
We are often urged to think about wills and the financial legacy we’ll leave if we die, but as I’ve found it’s also very important to consider the emotional legacy you’re leaving behind for your loved ones.
If you want to have a go at recording your life experiences and memories for your children, just sign up and start recording.
I’d love for you to write about your experience on your blog or do a guest blog post on the Lifestorybank website.
I found it to be a very positive experience. It made me stop and think about my life and how I can create more positive memories for my three girls.
Joanna Helin is Managing Director of Life Story Ltd and combines her role as entrepreneur with being mum to three daughters.
Visit us at Lifestorybank
Follow us and tweet to us @lifestorybank
Find Lifestorybank on Facebook