#DailyLife | Blog 056 | What Is A Memorial Video?

December 16, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Losing a parent is tough, take it from me, I've lost both of 'em to cancer. It's been a while now, just a smidge over 10 years, but every now and then they enter your mind and from nowhere, you're crying. Due to Western culture, it's not the done thing for a grown ass man to cry, but I do, granted, usually in private, but I do shed a tear or two.

Just recently I was watching that new Netflix film 'The Christmas Chronicles' and without spoiling the movie there's one scene where a son looks back at his Dad, and I shit you not, I near lost it, that gulp feeling as your just about to bawl your eyes out. I always seem to put myself into the scene as the son, which is odd, cause I have a son too, and I wonder if one day he'll do the same about me when I've left this mortal coil.

Fun Fact: Mortal coil is a poetic term for the troubles of daily life and the strife and suffering of the world. It is used in the sense of a burden to be carried or abandoned. To "shuffle off this mortal coil" is to die, exemplified in the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

We have all a family history we refer back to when it comes to thinking about our loved ones, but yet all we feel is this overwhelming sense of loss. If my Mum & Dad were sitting opposite me right now at the kitchen table, where I'm writing this, I'm sure we'd be reminiscing about previous Christmas's, or what I got up to as a child so that my wife could fully comprehend what a little shite I was, but, as she's never met them (as they'd gone before we had got together), we'll never have that, she'll never get to know them, and this too makes me sad. My Dad always had this knack of bringing up stories that would embarrass me to the core, I hated it and loved it all at the same time because throughout my childhood it felt to me that he wasn't really present. He'd been a hardworking man, always away providing for us all, and it was nice to know, despite (to my little mind) his absence, he'd been paying attention.

I dream about them sometimes. I wake up with that ghost-like ache in my arms from hugging them. Sometimes I wake up with tears streaming and that pain in my chest like there's a huge hole that can't ever be filled or replaced. I've witnessed friends and family go through similar experiences and I know what they're going through, I also know that those feelings, however intense they are, will eventually fade and they too will be where I am, holding this fragile box of emotional turmoil that at any moment might explode out of nowhere. That's grief. It's like the tides on a wide beach, you can let yourself hear it when you want to as you go about your daily life. However, every now and then, you get engulfed in a huge wave, just like I did yesterday watching a movie.

There are a number of creative people out there creating memorial cushions from the clothing of their loved ones. I think they're a fantastic idea, I really do. My ex-wife makes them, and I've seen a few on Facebook here and there from people more locally based. I'm no good with a sewing machine, I'm more of a photographic and video creation person. So when my wife came up with the idea for the Memorial Video concept, I thought yes! This is something I can do!

Promotional Video - Val MarkA 60 second sample of a Memorial Video The idea is this: I visit people in their homes, or they can come to me, whatever suits them best. We go through all the pictures that they want to appear in the slideshow, and we make arrangements to convert any videos that the family might have too, I can cover this aspect as well, as I already have the technology to do so, be it a DVD or a VHS, I'll get it sorted.

The next thing is to put the pictures in a timeline order, oldest to newest, and if there are any people worth mentioning in the pictures we write on post-it notes and stick them to the back of the picture, this way we're not damaging the picture by writing anything directly on the back. I then go away, scan them all and start work on putting the memorial video together.

As you can see the sample (above) I made with my late mother's pictures, places, names etc are all overlayed. The video is also kept within the timeline and added, and we can even have the music they loved used as a background track.

The best bit about this is, all the pictures have now been digitally stored in a unique personal gallery for them download for free. They can even watch the original videos that are now online, as the one thing I've found over the years is that I keep forgetting what my parents sounded like, their voices, their laugh.

Should they want to get prints done from those newly converted pictures, there's a wealth of products available through my store, which includes framing, canvases, and gifts too.

Everything is all in one place, which means they can then share that link with their other family members to enjoy when they too want to go back to those happy memories. It's not just on the web either, I have a free smartphone app that will take them directly into the password protected gallery to enjoy whenever they get the sense they want to visit those happier times.

Words of Wisdom - Video Services

These are more in-depth in nature and are more to do with family members who are still with us. They don't necessarily have to be near the end of their life either, they can simply be done as keepsakes for the future. This is the thing about age, every day we should be thankful for another opportunity to enjoy our health and the fact that we are still here because we just don't know what's around the corner.

Similar in the Memorial Video process, we gather all the family photographs together in the first instance. Together we'll have them all put into the right order, timeline wise. Then, once we've everything in place we go back and film the family member talking about those pictures, either to me or with another family member, which tends to be the more relaxed way of doing it. Especially if the main person is a little shy.

One question I've been asked is, can I do 8mm video conversions? Yes, yes I can, however, those who have Super 8mm will only have a video without sound, and to be honest, there's not a lot of 8mm with sound in the attics of Northern Ireland. There is also an additional charge for 8mm conversions, as the packages only cover DVD and VHS.

In the video below, you'll see a full example of a video I made about my late father, who died in November 2006. He was the wisest and most measured man I knew. There was nothing he couldn't turn his hand to, be that mechanical, decorating, building or just general knowledge. He was well read, well informed, and had friends up and down the town he had lived in his entire adult life. I miss him. I miss loads and wish I'd spent more time with him. I wish I knew more about him than I do now, I just never took the time to think about, nor did I ever think he'd be gone at the age of 56. That's 10 years away from the age I am now! Thankfully after a recent health check, I've managed to get my blood pressure down to normal, though the condition I've to tackle now is cholesterol. Damn me and my sweet tooth and those sausage baps for breakfast. In my defence, I've tackled almost all of those vices, including drinking, though I have absolutely no will-power when it comes to sweet things. Peanuts are the new nibble of choice, dull as shit, unsalted, unroasted, peanuts, but if you want to be around for your grandchildren, you have to put the effort in required to staying alive.

Anyway, check out the video below, if you or someone you know might welcome a service like this, send them to the Memorial Videos section on my website, where there's a full break down of costs and what's involved.

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas x

William Jeffery MarkMy personal hero, my Dad and his Memorial Video.


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