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Preserving Memories of a Loved One?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the making-the-best-of-things dept.

Data Storage 527

An anonymous reader writes "My wife is dying of metastatic (stage 4) cancer. Statistically she has between one and two years left. I have pre-teen daughters. I'm looking for innovative ideas on how to preserve memories of their mother and my wife so that years down the road we don't forget the things we all tend to forget about a person as time passes. I have copious photos and am taking as much HD video as I can without being a jerk, so images and sounds are taken care of (and backed up securely). I'm keeping a private blog of simple daily events that help me remember the things in between the hospitalizations and treatments. In this digital age what other avenues are there for preserving memories? Non-digital suggestions would be welcome, too."

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Preserve them forever! (0, Troll)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252932)

I recommend dipping them in bullet-proof lucite!

Re:Preserve them forever! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253000)

I recommend dipping them in bullet-proof lucite!

seriously??!?!? you are the epitomy of douchebags...

A good idea (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252936)

This is a good idea that I gleaned from Married...With Children.

Have her cremated, then pour her ashes in your charcoal grill. Have a family and friends-only memorial barbecue, so that with each bite, her essence will live inside you forever.

mod parent down (0, Troll)

CdBee (742846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252948)

Karma burn - I can afford it. Some people are proper cunts. Like the poster above.

Re:mod parent down (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252966)

Who modded that a-hole Funny is also an a-hole. Burn in hell!

Re:mod parent down (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252980)

This is a retarded question for slashdot.
You might as well have asked it on 4chan FFS

Re:A good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253066)

While that episode is completely hilarious, you are as much of an insensitive bastard as I am an Anonymous Coward right now.

Re:A good idea (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253184)

Really? Let's get sentimental: As somebody who lost my mother* as a pre-teen, I will defend my position by saying that different people cope with bereavement in different ways, one of which is humor which may seem inappropriate at the time. Even now, I insist that my friends treat me the same as everybody else as far as "I fucked your mom**" jokes go. My humorous yet realistic response to those jokes shows my strength and my ability to cope with trauma in a healthy manner.

As a supplement to the above, I advise submitter - I've been there as a kid, as a pre-teen. Whatever you do, do not force the issue with your children. When your wife passes, do not force your wife's memory upon them and insist that everybody constantly juggle her memories in each others' faces. Let them be sullen and withdrawn if they want to. They will recontextualize at their own pace, in their own ways. Attempting to shove their dead mother in their faces may be misguided and akin to pouring lemon juice on a wound. Just be supportive of each other and don't force anything.

And later, when you begin to find romance again, do not force your kids to call her "mom." Nobody will ever replace mom.

* It would be easier if I knew that she died. But, in the throes of schizoprhrenic psychosis, a product of an old-skool "tough-love" family who kicked their children when they were already down, she was last seen attempting to kill herself. She was erroneously released from the nuthouse on her own recognizance, never to be seen again.

** My friends sometimes tell me that they fucked my mom. I tell 'em that it must be the reason that they smell like malt liquor and piss, etc.

Personally (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252938)

I'd prefer to forget. Also first post.

FAIL!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253146)


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Thoughts. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252954)

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's condition. Truly.

For your daughters, I would recommend that your wife starts a diary, recording her thoughts. The little things, the big things. Looking at video and pictures is one thing, experiencing the feelings of a loved one as they wrote it is another. Together they may give your children something to look back upon for the rest of their lives.

Re:Thoughts. (4, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253068)

I agree, but I would take it one step further: a daily video blog for your wife.

Videos of birthdays, vacations and special events only go so far: you've all seen those videos, camera pans over the people and they're all smiling and laughing, but there's no sharing there, no real connection, it's about as generic as can be.

A video blog set to private on Youtube would be perfect. She can just turn on the laptop webcam and talk about whatever she's feeling that day for a few minutes. My wife and I did that awhile ago when we were on a strict diet and it's very interesting to go back now and see how we looked and felt.

Re:Thoughts. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253156)

Store these mementos forever.

But also realize that you simply can't hold on to her, and trying to hold on will increase the intensity and duration of your pain.

Memories are supposed to fade over time. Whether we like it or not, the fading helps us to heal, and to face the future.

As happy a place as the past is, it is unhealthy to try and live there forever.

Keep the mementos, but don't fall in love with them.

Hair, Nails, Blood Sample (1)

PrimordialSoup (1065284) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253250)

Other things you could really do, Store her hair (reminds me of a Star trek Voyager episode, where a time ship captain stores his wife's hair is a temporally shielded glass pyramid), like decent amount (not a strand), a blood slide, finger print, Nails ?, sequence her genome ? all of this apart from the diaries and thoughts...

Interview with question/answers (5, Insightful)

Aargau (827662) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252956)

I'd go with a formal interview to complement the daily life recording, to preserve for the kids a sense of how she felt on major issues, philosophy, personal achievements, things that might not come up when recording a daily routine.

Re:Interview with question/answers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253072)

Record her talking about how she felt when she met you; when and how you proposed, your wedding day, your honeymoon.

Record her feelings when she found out she was pregnant with each daughter, and when they were born.

Record what she loves about each of you individually and the ways in which each of your daughters reminds her of herself. Having that identity link is so important (my parents died when I was young as well).

Also consider having close friends and relatives record their memories while they are fresh.

It may require a few takes to get this done without tears but I feel that's important.

a few takes? without tears? (4, Insightful)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253194)

Nah. You want the takes with the tears.

Sounds like you are doing great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252962)

Beyond what you are already doing, i'm not sure how much more preserving you can do. Does your family game at all? You can record game footage in some games.

In a more positive light, i'm hoping there's a cancer breakthrough with stem cells so your wife can be cured.

No One Gives A Shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252970)

No one gives a shit about your life loser.

It's called Google.

No wonder Digg, Reddit, and the other social media sites have left Slashdot in the dust in traffic.

Re:No One Gives A Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253276)

Then go back there. I die a little inside every time I start reading the comments at Digg, so I'll take the lesser evil tyvm.

Old school (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252972)

Non Digital: Handprints in clay...

Re:Old school (2, Interesting)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253058)

we are dust in the wind, dude

film (3, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252976)

a simple 35mm film camera (one time use if you have to) developed into prints.

Re:film (3, Insightful)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253176)

I agree. I know OP says he is taking "photos", but I wonder if he's making any negatives. I'm not saying digital images are worthless, but you only get one shot to put something on can always scan it later any way you want. I'm happy that by chance I ended up with a wedding photographer that shot our wedding on film...I have a roll of negatives in my safe, and it's very special to have those negatives that were in the camera at our wedding. If my wedding had been shot digitally, I would just feel sick...there's no way to go back. 35mm film costs $0.15 per frame. If it's not worth $0.15, then use a digital camera. Unless we are talking about putting things on ebay or something, shoot film. Film can be scanned, so you lose nothing and gain something that may be nearly priceless. Don't let the fact that you might not have a film camera stop you. Pro-level 35mm cameras cost almost nothing now, and disposable cameras also work.

Don't lose out on experiencing her life with her (5, Insightful)

elgo (1751690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252984)

I know you want to preserve her memory for your kids... but there's only so much you can do, and apparently only a limited amount of time left. If you spend too much of your time simply documenting her life, you may one day regret not spending more one-on-one time with her, unencumbered by things like worrying about videotaping and documenting every last second. No matter what, you will have regrets, but you should spend quality time with her while she is here, and not worry so much about documentation. This is all part of life - it sounds like you may have already done enough documentation for the time being, and perhaps now you should allow yourself and your kids to actually experience her as she is. Memories become distorted but still there is no substitute for real experience.

Re:Don't lose out on experiencing her life with he (1)

jackd (64557) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253134)

Sadly out of mod points today, but mod up parent. Enjoy the time you have together now, don't get caught up in trying to capture everything.

Re:Don't lose out on experiencing her life with he (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253174)

Exactly. "And this is me filming her dying.".

Re:Don't lose out on experiencing her life with he (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253266)

No kidding... I'd think that if I were dying of something, my "loved one" running around trying to record every second would become very annoying. Well, to each their own, I guess. Frankly, everybody takes too many videos and pictures. How many thousands of pictures does one really need. Give me a couple good photos and I'm happy - I'll spend the rest of my time actually having a relationship. The idea above about a diary is a great one. Just have your wife write for a half hour a day if she can. Having a few pictures of my ancestors is nice, but having thousands would not interest me at all. I'd much rather have their journal - or letters to their loved ones. I have a great journal authored by my grandmother - full of all kinds of interesting tidbits from a generation ago - stuff that could never be captured in photos or hours of video of people waving and saying hi. Home videos rarely tell a story. A written account almost always does.

Kill Her Now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253144)

Find someone younger and hotter and take her to the funeral.

Re:Kill Her Now (1)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253234)

Find someone younger and hotter and take her to the funeral.

This facinates me; what kind of person writes something like that and what is going through their head when they do?

Re:Don't lose out on experiencing her life with he (5, Insightful)

JustDisGuy (469587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253204)

No mod points, but this ^^^^^.

I lost my wife when we were 37. She went out visiting one night, and never came home.

Spend the time you have left with your wife, and the children with their mother *creating memories*, and not memorabilia.

I'm sorry for your family, that you have to go through this when the kids are so young. Be strong, man.

Watching videos is passive (3, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252986)

Do an old fashioned album of the places you've been the things you've seen, then sit with your daughters on your wedding anniversary and tell them stories. Your story telling will make those memories come alive. Relive the joy of her being alive, not the pain of her death.

Put photographs, little bits of whatever, theater tickets, and so on. My father in law did this for my kids as he was dying while they were being born.

Great family history and lots of memories in those albums.

Re:Watching videos is passive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253050)

I second doing the albums/scrapbooks. It will be a distinctive keepsake in an increasingly digital society.

Be sure to label all the pictures, so you won't forget who the people are.


Anonymous Coward (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33252990)

The best thing I had from some older relatives (now gone) were CDs of them telling stories. One of my cousins took the time to get a few of the aunts and uncles together on the phone and asked a few questions to get them to reminisce. After a few minutes they forgot about the tape recorder and began really talking to each other. That set of CDs one of the nicest remembrances I have of them. My wife wishes she had done this with her parents. They grew up during the great depression and had a lot of interesting stories on the way things were and tales of every day living. Unfortunately her mom developed Parkinson's and lost the ability to speak clearly, and her dad died of a sudden heart attack, so we lost all this oral history, as well as the sound of their voice.

put some footprints in concrete (3, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252992)

On a back porch or whatever. Then the kids can stand in their mom's shoes and compare their feet.

It does help make a connection.

Handprints are more convenient and can hung on a wall if you do them with plaster in pie tins. This also makes them portable in case you move to a new house.

In theory you could make molds of hands, feet, whatever. But people seem to see more realistic depictions such as this or lifesize cutout standees as being creepy. Not so with hand/footprints.

Re:put some footprints in concrete (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253108)

I was, rightly, afraid it was a mistake to post the question here, but at least there are some sympathetic replies, like this one I like. Throw in your and kids' footprint/handprints in there.

Maybe the guy and the family can try any and all goofy ideas and try to share a few (or whole lotta) laughs.

We all die, the ones that squeeze out the most good time of it win.

Re:put some footprints in concrete (3, Interesting)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253178)

On the same line of thought, you could make a death mask, or a couple of them.

It's not as creepy as the name might suggest and doesn't require the subject to actually be dead.

It was a project we did in one of my art classes in high school. My mom collects masks, so I gave mine to her and it hangs on her wall with many other more exotic masks.

The process is fairly simple and quickly described in this article [] . In my art class, we took it a step further and used the plaster mask as a negative and later filled it with pottery clay, baked it, glazed and baked it again. I glazed mine black, but I'm sure that a ghostly white might be appropriate for the situation.

Making the mask negative (mold) is something that can happen in less than an hour. With a little more work you can probably make one that is re-usable out of other materials, but the plaster style negative is good for making only one ceramic mask. I'd suggest one per child, maybe more.

I'm sure that if the goal was described to someone at your local pottery shop, the appropriate materials would be suggested.

Just a suggestion (1)

Ardx (954221) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252994)

One thing that came to mind was maybe putting together some presents for the girl's future birthday and christmas that are picked out by you and your wife, sort of to keep her memory alive. That being said, voice recordings, images, and video will keep her image and sound, but the crucial thing as I see it, is to keep her personality and wisdom. It's more the content than the delivery. Future proofing for 20 years really isn't as dire (imho) as most people make out. You should be fine with current formats and only replicating copies of the formats down the line. Basically, follow the typical backup storage philosophy of multiple onsite and offsite storage and you should be fine as far as technology goes.

Ask her to write? (4, Insightful)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33252998)

Perhaps she may want to leave something written, her memories. I have been talking to my dad about doing precisely that for years, not pressing but not stopping mentioning it from time to time. I don't want his life and that of his ancestors to vanish in background noise. I think it's fair to want a record of what the passage of those people through life was like, even if neither of them won a Nobel prize or became president of the country.

On the other hand, perhaps what remains for you to do is to live the time she has with her and your children. In other words, it's good to preserve things as you are already doing, but don't let that take away time or attention from the life that still has to be lived. Find an equilibrium.

Finally, I salute your courage and attitude.

Letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253002)

It could be a nice idea if she could write letters to your daughters and maybe to you from herself to be opened at special events. High school / college graduation, marriage, first child - stuff like that comes to my mind. You guys could keep them and read them when the appropriate time comes. In the past few years my family (a parent, grandparents, uncles) was basically decimated by diseases and accidents, so I kind of know how much it sucks to lose a loved one. It never gets easy... I am truly sorry for your wife...

Careful, don't overdo it (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253004)

You might forget to actually live with her while that's still possible. To make memories instead of trying to preserve...the preservation efforts.

Which is impossible to be anywhere "complete" anyway, so just take what's good, what you see is happening; let her guide it (in a preferred form). And the rest involved will specifically remember what's worthwile to them anyway - not everything there is to remember. What does it matter if you couldn't really remember it at will?

(or even "what does it matter" in grander sense - for example, what can we tell about our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother? You know, the one from the side of you father, then grandfather, then great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, great-great-great-grandfather, great-great-great-great-grandfather, great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. The basics would do - century, continent, language...
That won't change thanks to "digital age" in the way people imagine, IMHO; at most roughly as an input to statistical approaches / etc.)

Well, if somebody is really determined, cryonics might work...eventually.

Typical (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253008)

I've had many family members die of cancer. It's pretty fucking awful of you to sit around wondering how you're going to cope instead of helping the person who's dying deal with the utter horror of the knowledge of their impending death. The way you cope is to suck it up and deal with death. How about showing some sensitivity to the person who is going to be going through extreme pain, suffering, and eventual rotting away into oblivion? It's her job to die and it's your job to suffer and grieve. Get your fucking place right. You can figure out how you're going to deal with it after she's gone. Until then, it ain't about you, fuckwad.

Re:Typical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253140)

You're not a parent. You don't get it. You'd be surprised how fragile memories of lost relatives are from youth. Their kids are going to grow up and want every bit of information they can have about their mom. He's doing the right thing and so is the mother.

Really preserve her memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253014)

hook her up to a FMRI machine and record -everything-. Sometime in the future, we may be able to upload the recordings into an interactive simulator and you can talk to her as if she never left.

Re:Really preserve her memories (1)

blue trane (110704) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253086)

yeah this is my idea too - or write a bot that can read diaries and blogs and then interact with a user. Sort of like megahal but with more awareness of grammar and logic. I'm working on one to encode the best parts of myself :)

Don't Do It (5, Insightful)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253018)

People die, life moves on. Detailing her daily life so that you can remember everything will keep you from doing that. Instead, make a log of your important memories with her, and work on making new ones that you and her can cherish for the rest of her life.

Re:Don't Do It (5, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253148)

Well said. Memories are supposed to fade. It's part of how we cope with loss.

Voice recording, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253022)

Just something simple, doesn't have to be anything specific... reading a book aloud, or just monologuing on this thing or another, it's really hard to recollect someone's voice, but it will bring back floods of memories even 30 years down the line when you hear it. Could combine with smells for even more impact, keep her scented soap, or perfume (not the fancy one, the everyday one which you'll only notice once it's gone).

Cook Book (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253026)

Being Italian we tend to associate with Food. When my wife lost her mother we've spent the past few months finding recipes from my mother-in-law and building a family cookbook. Now when we make those dishes those memories return.

Some ideas (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253028)

I'm sorry for your situation, I can not being to imagine what your going through.
If your wife feels up to it, maybe have her write/record personal private messages to your daughters for the different milestones in their lives.
Graduations, First "True Love" Advice, First Break Up Advice, etc.
Something personal meant just for the girls, they can let you see it if they want to later.
Most memories we have of our parents are from the stories/advice we all rolled our eyes at when they told them to us, and we rolled our eyes then but they take on greater meaning later.
Don't forget to "scrapbook" anything you can from the past, a trip to the park before the cancer took hold might seem unimportant but it would be good to have memories of their mother that do not all focus on what the cancer did and the last few years she had with them.
Maybe check with her parents and see if they have old school photos and other memories saved. Record/document what she has to say about these milestones from her past. It lets them create the connections with her that would have come to pass.
I hope this helps some.

I am not really sentimental but ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253030)

First, on the sentimental note - I saw a TV show a few weeks ago about some little girl who was diagnosed with a disease that killed her.

She wanted her family to remember her, so she wrote a ton -- no one knows how many, but thousands -- of letters, and hid them in various places all over the house.

Her folks and siblings were still finding those letters years after she was gone. As I said, I am not sentimental, but this video kinda shook me.

So, maybe you need to do something like that - that will be a nice memory and a surprise when you find it. Maybe better if you don't know what it says, too.

On the other hand, given this whole project of yours, you should consider your family's life after, if she goes (and I wish they'd come up with that cure for cancer).

If someone else joins the family, what will they think about, well, your whole idea?

So, something that surprises you down the road would be nice, but also consider balancing your life before and after.

Also, my sympathies about what you're going through, and best of luck to you all.

Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253038)

I think you should think this through, is this really the time of your wifes life that you and your children want to remember the most?

Don't record your life, live it. (5, Insightful)

Atypical Geek (1466627) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253044)

Honestly, you are wasting your time behind a camera. There is no innovative technological solution to immortalizing the dead. Everyone who suffers that kind of loss winds up forgetting, and later recalling little moments.

Take a cue from the movie 'Up'. Keep photos and cherished items. Use the tokens you preserve to jog your memory once in a while. But spend the time you have left with your wife fully engaged and enjoying every tiny slice of life as much as you can.

Make something, anything. (1)

Jeff Carr (684298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253046)

Videos, pictures, and text is fantastic, and I'm glad you're capturing that. However, our most personal recording device is our brain as it captures emotions as well. I'd encourage her to make something for each of your daughters. It doesn't matter what it is, a drawing ,a knick knack, a story in a bound book, a little table, it doesn't matter a bit. It just has to be a thing that will be there and remind them of her. Digital information is great, and I love technology as much as the last person on /. but they are no substitute for memories brought on by something tangible that you can hold and was created by someone.

Her life via My Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253048)

There was a movie with Michael Keaten in it awhile back that touched on this subject ... Let me google a bit. Ah:

He made recordings for his children, including, if memory serves, offering advice for different stages in their life. Essentially giving the wisdom or advice he would offer during teenage years, dating, school, college, work - so on - if he had been there. There was even a scene where he talked about his wife remarrying and was explaining that it should be viewed as normal and not a betrayal to him. Real sad stuff.

Recordings are the next best thing to being there. So record for posterity. Don't just make home movies. Advice is good but also mundane things - anything that captures her life and spirit, which can be viewed over and over again. Todays modern digital media should work wonders.

Bit meandering but hopefully something useful in what I just said.

remember all the senses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253052)

You've covered the visual and auditory...there's always the tactile (impressions of hands, or favorite fabrics), the smells (favorite perfumes, or scents), and tastes (favorite recipes or meals shared as a family)...

Also, when the time is right, interview other people in her life...get their perspectives and stories...

Mirrored drives and external backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253054)

Make sure your data is backed up or consider it lost. Make digests (md5 or sha) of files and test them often. Recover the files when needed when tests fail.

A few ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253064)

A chronological photo album. But add in anecdotes and stories about the photos. Small details you like to remember. Like if on some trip it was the first time she ate some food and she hated or loved it. Ask friends of hers that might have pictures to do the same. So then you'll have smalle photo albums with things her friends experienced with her.

The documentary style video would be nice to do. Before or after she passes. They do these at funerals, but I suggest asking her friends and family to also add private moments. The kind that only you would share with that person or your best friend but not the community as a whole. That way you get a much more personal message from from them n

Storing video digitally and on DVD is a classic approach to keeping her memory alive. But if you research photographs and video storage techniques you might find some really good ways to store it for your kids and grandkids and other family. It's always nice to find pictures and letters from relatives of long ago.

Hope these ideas help or at least help you spark some more.

Don't just document memories, make new ones! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253076)

Go out and make new memories. As many as you can. Pictures and video are really windows to how we felt when the media was captured. Your children will remember those feelings through those pictures and videos. It doesn't even matter what you are doing, just being there and doing things together is important.

Blowjob (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253080)

If she gives me a blowjob, I will preserve her memory by telling everyone how good a cock sucker she is, and if she swallows.

Re:Blowjob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253122)

You are as insensitive and moral-event-horizon-crossing a bastard as I am an Anonymous Coward. Shame on you.

"The Last Lecture" (4, Insightful)

PatMcGee (710105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253082)

Did you watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture? []

Would your wife be interested in doing something like this? I assume privately, but maybe she'd want to make it public.

Make her smile as much as you can... (4, Insightful)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253084)

Make her smile as much as you can and get as many moments all together as can, this will last your daughters and you a lifetime.

Go to the gym (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253088)

Get yourself in shape so that when she's gone you'll be able to rebound with someone not riddled with tumors.

Seriously, a much better option than trying to remember every detail of her is to get balls deep into someone else as soon as possible, so as to forget about her entirely.

A Couple of Ideas (1)

Droid41 (1878758) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253090)

1) Take video of things that have meaning to her, let her add voice-overs to the videos. Combine them all together into a DVD. Make copies for your children to take with them wherever they may go in life. 2) Give her the video camera and some privacy. Let her record videos for the family that are only to be viewed at a certain time / date / event (birthdays, weddings, etc). If you can resist the temptation to view them before the date she specified, you'll have messages from her for many years to come.

A living memory (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253094)

You might try starting a small scholarship fund, for example:

Support something that she was very fond of and you will not only have a yearly reminder, but she will continue to touch the lives of others into the future.

let your wife do things with the kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253098)

pre-teen children do remember things their whole life.

I am forty years old now. I do remember things back to when I was two years old. I remember my grand-grand-mother, who died when I was three. The memory of her is fuzzy as I haven't seen her that often. She was 89 years old. I remember her taking aspirine as she did every single day.

The brother of my mother, who was my godfather, died when I was five years old. He died from lung cancer at age 33. I remember a whole lot of things we did together. He was an amateur entomologist and took me into the woods to collect bugs. We live near tracks and one day we wanted to use a tunnel under these tracks and once we came back from a journey workers were filling the tunnel with soil. So we crossed the tracks above-ground. I got his field guide a few days before his death and his swiss army knife.

Do things together, ordinary things, extraordinary things. Where do you live? In a big city, a small town, in a village? Explore the world around you. And beyond.

And put photographs, sparingly. Not too many as you might spoil their memories and won't live at all just doing photographs. Just as a help to keep memories alive.

I wish you all the best.


Dwelling upon the past... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253100) seldom a good idea.

With all respect to your beloved wife and the wonderful person she undoubtedly is - it's better to remember the good things and the good times you had together when she was well.
The bad thing about remembering and missing loved ones, is that you'll refresh your memories about them to a degree where you miss them so much that a sadness will dwell inside of you and possibly make life much harder than ease your pain.

This effect is much worse in kids (I was a kid too, and learning from past experience I'd say I was better off not having too many pictures & memorabilia of the person I loved the most), I knew she had ONE great wish - and I try to fulfil that wish, but only so far. The more you miss them, the more you'll cry, the emptier your life will feel like because you're reminding yourself of your losses - if it works the other way reminding you of the great times you had, this is STILL in the PAST and won't help a future relationship, the same applies to your kids.

It's important to "ease out" from the pain your kids will experience from the loss, lest they remember, the better it is, especially since it makes them live in the NOW (which is VERY important for kids) they don't need to dwell upon losses, kids are a BUNDLE of FEELINGS,,,and are especially vulnerable to excessive feel-overloads of impressions. Free them from sadness - Look into the future.

Trust me - this is probably what your wife wishes for you and the kids too, I know my (now deceased) family members do...because I know them well, they're selfless and caring - and I did what they wanted me to do, try my best - and don't dwell upon the past. I've made the mistake of dwelling, thats why I can tell you of my experiences in life.

Now - I only look ahead.

make a porn video (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253112)

nuff said.

Re:make a porn video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253172)

You are everything that is wrong with the internet.

put down the camera. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253118)

Best suggestion I can make for you.... put down the camera. Spend that time with her, not recording her. What would you rather have ten years from now, pictures of her dying, or memories of you lives together?

Dont filter the precious time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253120)

Dont loose the reality of the time you have left by fiewing it all through a LCD.
Have your wife write letters answering anticipated questions, including the tough ones.
I suggest sealed envelopes for the more sensitive topics, PMS, marriage, kids, pregnancy, sex, dating; even the rotten stuff like teen depression, getting dumped, divorce, sickness, etc the stuff a girl would really want advice from their mother. SHe should also write memories of ll relitaves especially the ones who have already passed on, the personal history is one of the big losses. Suggest she include what she knows about the girls personality but remembering that people often will work to change in their own personality between pre-teen and graduation. Let the letters be private moments for when they are needed, maybe several reloads for depression and getting dumped between mom and daughter.

Don't let recordings define her (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253124)

/Too/ diligent recording and there's a risk of letting the HD video define your memory of her, versus single pictures that serve only to spark your memories. Similarly a video is something you sit and watch, whereas a picture requires you to talk about the background and explain the story of whats going on in the picture, could be a more family oriented thing. Although on the other hand, pre-teen daughters might not have very strongly encoded memories of her yet, so maybe definitive footage would be good for things that get fuzzy in memory, like voice.

Put down the camera. (3, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253130)

Have your wife write her thoughts to your daughters, and you, and help her write them if you have to. Keep journals around, but don't be too pushy. It's the rest of her life, so let her choose. Letters for important future events for your daughters could be really nice.

More importantly, put the camera down, stop worrying so much about the distant future, and worry about the time you have now. Don't use it too much to plan to remember. Use it to live.

Do something fun (2, Insightful)

adoarns (718596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253132)

The most fun, absolutely wonderful things. You, the girls, and your wife. While her health will allow it. Take a trip, for instance. And don't make it all stressfull, and don't invest it with too much meaning. It's a fun jaunt, the whole family

Those memories will last.

Important occasions video or letters (2, Insightful)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253136)

For important birthdays, proms, graduations, weddings, birth of your daughter's children, have your wife record or write messages for your daughters.

A message saying she is proud, that she remembers when she did those things, a bit of motherly advise, a lot of love.

Let her do it, and back off. (2, Insightful)

ManiaX Killerian (134390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253138)

(I'd say I'm sorry, but I don't know you, her, anyone around you and I although it's bad, I can't really make myself feel anything).

In short. You're not the one that's dying, it's just not up to you. Let her do whatever think it's appropriate (telling her anything about it would be just imposing), and keep your own memories, however you want them (blog probably, although your head would suffice). Don't overdo it - otherwise your risk killing parts of you and your daughters in the process.

And, you seem too depressed to ask on Slashdot. Please, please, please, talk to someone, even a professional (even with the related social stigmata related to that). Don't try to offload this on a bunch of strangers, that's not going to work well anyway. We suck. Even though a lot of us lost someone dear sometime ago (me - about a week ago), it still doesn't make us any good in offering good advice on anything like this.

Seriously. Please 1) don't be an idiot 2) do what's right instead of using strangers to thing for you. Yes, you might fuck up, so what? You'll still remember her for what she was.

The best memories come from shared experiences (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253154)

Do things together, share time, look at things, talk about them. You will remember the important parts of her life without having your memories cluttered by inconsequential or non-core stuff. Have enough media (and the spoken word is often the most powerful reminder, as it comes straight from that person - not affected by the way you held the camera, or zoomed, or the background - just the subject, pure and simple) for your children and their children but I wouldn't go so far as to (metaphorically speaking) build a shrine.

Ultimately you will want the memories you cherish when you're alone - maybe when you're lying in bed. Not when you want to dig out the DVD player and go searching for a specific birthday, or conversation. Therefore they will be the ones that are in your head, not on a piece of media in the back of a cupboard.

Fading memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253162)

While you think that this is a good idea and the technology is here to do it - it may not be good after all.

Unless you are an artist, who can make reality larger than life, creating an iconic piece of art in some shape or form, none of your video footage may deliver you what you are expecting.

Why don't you live with her as fully as possible, instead of screwing up the little time left with running around with a stupid camera, which will just separate you from her, when she needs you the most?

The best moments, that you want to remember for are already gone and you didn't tape them. What's left is not what you want or what you will remember.
Enjoy your time with her without thinking of the future.


Know the whole person (1)

rawket.scientist (812855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253166)

Condolences, and best wishes for your project.

I lost a parent as a young teenager. My siblings were tweens. We have lots of peek-a-boo and Saturday morning couch fort memories, and don't get me wrong, we cherish them. But what I really miss now, as a grown woman, was getting to know my father as an adult. He was a great father for us as children, but we were too young and/or too sheltered for really open conversations on those thorny adult issues that most parents dread. The man I've gotten to know second-hand through his peers was a thoughtful, interesting, complicated guy. I wish I could have known him as a peer, too.

Whatever medium you and your wife use (and you should participate too, no parent is an island), don't neglect the shades of gray, and the things you'd only say to someone you trust after a couple of beers.

Probably a bit obvious, but... (1)

understress (85878) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253168)

Years ago I watched the movie 'My Life' with Michael Keaton. The part I remember is that he was making videos for his unborn child (he was terminally ill in the movie) that could be watched later in life as a way to teach his child his values / ideas / etc. As hard as this would be for you and your wife to do, consider doing something similar. It could be as simple as a diary that your wife keeps for each of the children. Personalized for each person. She could place one entry per day per child. They could be simple things, or heavier subjects that your wife wants to try impart some of her wisdom onto your children for. Some subjects may not be appropriate today but will be necessary later in life. Dating, college, what to do with your life, how to deal with boys, how to deal with sex, etc. Some perspectives will probably be unique from your wife's point of view.

As a person who takes 100's of photos per month of my kids / family functions, and hours of video also, I realize that after someone is gone it isn't always the pictures and videos that keep the memories of someone alive. It's the small stuff. The things that happen in everyday life that we take for granted, until something like this happens.

I wish you the best for you and your family during this time of difficulty.

her own digital world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253180)

this may sound strange to some and perfectly reasonable to others, but I've read some interesting stories about people who in their dying days would seem to spend a lot of time playing games or indulging in otherwise virtual worlds of some sort. one specific case i remember is some time after his mom had died a kid (i say kid as in like late teens) logged into a save file his mom had stored and there was a whole working world she had built based around her life and memories. I believe it was animal crossing, but i can't remember for certain. while i agree with the stated "best to not have too much" philosophy, it's also interesting to consider that even though it may only exist on a memory card or hard drive, it's just as much a working part of its creator as is a journal or photo.

Audio/Video Interview (1)

DRBivens (148931) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253182)

I cannot imagine losing my spouse and am sorry about your family's situation.

I lost my grandparents quite a while ago and my parents much more recently; I think about and miss them often.

While they were still alive, one of my relatives sat down with my grandparents and parents and "interviewed" them in much the same way as one would a guest on a TV show.

Because of the format and comprehensive list of questions asked, I consider these recordings to be one of the best reminders I have of my [grand]parents' lives.

The oldest--my grandparents'--is audio-only, and the other is audio with accompanying pictures (this was before the age of common and affordable video). Nevertheless, they are wonderful and I consider myself richer for having them.

I guess the format is not nearly as important as the content. Many of the painful "if only I could talk to them one last time" moments deal with family history: where they came from, how they met, what they did before you showed up, etc.

Get some help from any/everyone you can and write a comprehensive set of questions. Your kids (and you) will appreciate it for years to come!

not too many videos, photographs are better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253188)

We all have our very own memories, no one has the same view on something. Allow these memories some help but don't overwrite it with other information. A real memory is worth more than all videos, even when fainting and blurring over time.


Write a letter (1)

BlueBat (748360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253192)

How about having her write letters for important times in the children's lives. A letter for graduating high school, and maybe one for college. Another for when they get married. Maybe even a letter for when the child turns 16 or other important milestones. That's about the only thing I can think of besides video and sound. Sometimes reading something written by the hand of the person you care about is special. It helps make you feel closer to them when you don't have many other ways to do so.

I'm sorry to hear that she will be leaving soon. It's a good thing to know it's coming and to take care of the important things while you can. I hope that my idea will help you out.

spend time with her (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253196)

It's really not that complicated: spend time with her if she wants to. Don't constantly shove a video camera in her face. Keep in mind that when some people are ill, they may actually need quiet time, so be sensitive.

Dude! Stop now! (1)

dlmarti (7677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253206)

Stop with the video, stop with the blogs, stop with the pictures. Just try to live the remaining time as full as possible. YOUR families memories of the good times is enough, make sure you have lots of them.

Been there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253208)

So terribly sorry for you and your wife. I went through this with the Love of My Life 2001-2003 as she fought what we knew was a losing battle, as she was also diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.

Does your wife have a little box or two of recipes on 3x5 or 4x6 cards? How about scanning them and organizing them into a searchable database so Mom's favorite foods will always be available to the girls?

I have a couple of favorite photos (8x10, 5x7) of the two of us near my workplace at home, and many smaller photos of our favorite places scattered around the house.

I wish you comfort and love on your last journey together. Nobody who has not gone through the loss of a beloved spouse can possibly understand what you are going through.

some new (and old ideas) (1)

macstrat (927377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253222)

my friends mom died of pancreatic cancer about 8 years ago. She did a bunch of thing that makes sure her memory lives on. like Droid41 said have her record video messages and congratulation (and memories) that coincide with the events of her childrens life on special occasions. 16 18 and 21st birthdays, driving liscense, marrage, grandchildren etc. it helps them stay in touch with the person that they are becoming and help them to remember the person that she was. Give them to your kids on those occasions so that they always know that there is something to look forward to. also get greeting cards for those occasions and give them to them on those occasions with the videos. smell is the sence most closely tied to memory, think about keeping a bottle of her perfume around. pick somethign she loves to do and do that once a year. my friends mom lived to take cruises, so once a year the family goes on a cruise.

FFS, he asked for suggestions, not advice! (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253232)

All this "don't forget to live" crap is just people showing off that they're oh-so-much-wiser than the original inquirer. I can't think of anything more infuriating to someone in his situation. If you don't have a suggestion to make ALONG THE LINES OF WHAT HE ASKED FOR, then keep your pop psychology to yourself.

I do: physical objects. Does she have jewelry? She should plan who it's going to go to, especially since your kids are both girls. If there's anything she really cherished, be sure you know what it is now so you can hang on to it.

Technology is OK (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253236)

Given the age of the children, their adult memories of specific details might be fuzzy, but all they'll need is a hint to bring it back vividly. As a middle aged adult, I have a lot of people now I've lost, and a faded photo is all it takes to bring them back in my imagination. So what you should do is build memories and create triggers that will recall those memories.

What I'd suggest is this. Have the family start making scrapbooks of things you've done that are memorable. They could be big things like vacations, but don't forget the day to day routines, meals, reading together, tucking into bed. Talk about those things as you are putting the scrapbooks together. Have everyone draw pictures of things that happened. Human memory is more creative than mechanical media like HD video, and what you are doing here is literally building memories. The scrapbook will be a trigger for those memories (scan it to back it up).

A variant on this you might want to try for certain events is to make a time capsule, a box into which you can put souvenirs, written accounts, recordings, postcards etc.

Keep things simple, don't go overboard with the tech so that it takes you focus of the important thing, which is the what is left in your human mind, more powerful than the most perfect media record and without which such records are valueless.

Make the most out of every day. Everyone should do that anyway. I was talking with my 14 year old daughter about open ended questions -- ones that don't really have a clear and perfectly satisfying answer. She wanted to know an example of one, and I immediately said, "Why do I have to die?" I think about this almost every day. I could have an accident and not be here for my children tomorrow. These thoughts are unpleasant, but I think it is important to remind myself that I don't have unlimited time. That is the rason I choose to make time for the people who are important to me.

So you see, I have put some thought into this problem already. My answer to "why do I have to die?" is this: so that I remember to make my life worth living. It's not a perfect answer, nor is it one that meets everyone's needs, but it meets mine.

Make the memories with her (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253240)

Focus on activities you can do together as a family. I'm not sure how active her health allows her to be, but simple things like trips to the park or the zoo can be a wonderful experience and an event you and your children will remember the rest of your lives. If it's hard for her to get around, sitting with her and reading a book or telling stories from your past can be nice as well. These memories may become distorted, but in a positive way. They'll be little pockets of joy in what are otherwise very hard times.

Randy Pausch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253242)

I can't remember if he mentions that topic, but looking at Randy Pausch's last lecture might provide some inspiration on how to spend the remaining time... See: [] Warning: While it is an interesting watch, it may not be suitable for emotionally sensitive viewers.

Family history (1)

whitesea (1811570) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253244)

Ask her as much as possible about her friends and family. You may be able to find people who remember her when she was little, or at least before you two met. Also, with time children may want to know more about her side of the family. Find out as much as you can now; later you and your children may be grateful you did it. I wish I asked my father more questions while he was still alive. Record those interviews; things get hazy and then people can't agree on what they heard.

There will come a day... (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253248)

... when it is time to turn the camera off and stop the blog. And I think that day may come very soon.

If you want to remember how she lived, it will become harder and harder for you to do so as the inevitability of her death becomes more and more obvious. You're already treating her like she's about to die; is that the way that you want to remember her?

Focus on who she was before all of this. Preserve her life, not her death.

How about a (virtual) shrine? (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253256)

When my dad passed, I kept his pickup as a kind of shrine. It had his personality because of how he decorated it, the things he kept in it for work and play, and the memories of places we went in it. Eventually I passed it to another family member, and of course it will someday be gone. But for a while, it was a cool way to have an occasional visit with ol' dad.

Considering the poster's question makes me think that a virtual shrine should be do-able: a small 3-D world with representations of places and things that bring a strong sense of a person's uniqueness. For me, just that truck would do fine. It would be neat if I could share it with family and friends, and connect it with their favorite ways of remembering him.

I don't know what current virtual reality platform would be best suited for this since I don't play any of the games that use this stuff, but I'll bet there's something off-the-shelf that should do OK...

Quality over quantity; memories over archives (4, Insightful)

StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253258)

A digital memory is unforgiving; the video of a laugh you remember as a shining moment won't blur the ever-present fatigue. Where you remember a beautiful smile the camera will remind you of the pain she suppressed for that moment, the blackness under her eyes.

I would suggest not video taping anything other than the occasional interview; perhaps discretely video record your wife reminiscing with your daughters about their early childhood, and hers.

Instead of focusing on digital memories, spend that time with your wife and daughters forming memories of real events. Frisbee in the yard, swings, running through sprinklers, hiking in the forest. Learning to cook new things together, card games, board games, sewing.

We remember 'firsts' the best, usually. Do new things. Let your memories blur the edges of your wife's condition; your daughters lives will turn out the better for it, their memories of Mom that much fonder.

Where is Ray Kurzweil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33253284)

Where is Ray Kurzweil when you need him? I'm sure he could help.

Stop the video for your kids (2, Insightful)

kramulous (977841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33253286)

The last thing I wanted to remember about my mum when she fought a long battle with cancer was her final days. She finally died when I was 18.

Things are not pretty in those final years. Pale, tired, sick, moody but mostly high on drugs. And that is what you are leaving as a final memory to your kids. She was not that woman.

Go through existing photos of when she was a kid and make sure the photo albums (physical or not) are well documented and chronologically ordered. What was happening at the time, who was she with, how good of time was she having and how happy was she.

Go through photos of when the two of you met and dated. Document that. The happy times and the not so happy times. The two of you should go through each photo and describe the event.

I, for some reason, have only three photos of my mum. Two when she was sick (not so fun to look at) and one just before she met my dad. I would love to know where she was, what she was doing (was it during uni on break?), etc.

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