• Ashley Ragan

Capture Your Loved One On Camera Before It's Too Late

Updated: Aug 16, 2019


“I wish you could have known him,” will be a phrase I’ll utter for the rest of my life. This phrase could either reference my Dad or my little brother. By the time I hit age 28, I had not only lost all four grandparents, but both my 16-and-61-years-young Dad and brother.


Dad, Jeremy and me

These earthly partings of my brother and father occurred in 2011 and 2017, respectively, with each of my grandparents passing as well within that time span. Since I’ve never had a cousin, my family unit now consists of my Mom, Uncle, and myself, forever missing the good old days and lamenting those we loved dearly. Paired with forever wishing we had gathered more substantial, visual and timeless content of loved one’s voices and recollection of happy memories. It’s a cliche and exhausted phrase, but it’s an unequivocal truth: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. So while you still have physical time with loved ones, my advice to you is to capture it all before it is indeed gone.


We lost my brother unexpectedly and overnight, left without a chance to collect concrete tangible memories. On the opposite side of the spectrum, my Dad battled Glioblastoma, a relatively rare form of Brain Cancer for ten months. Throughout those ten months, Dad and I played cards, took neighborhood walks, and talked endlessly. Mom and I sat bedside in hospice for 20 agonizing days when any light at the end of our hopeful tunnel had flickered out. When we arrived at the point of hospice, I conducted interviews with him, inquiring about childhood memories, preferred books and favorite films, meaningful memories with friends and with me, Mom and my brother Jeremy.


But what I lacked and will likely have regrets about forever and a day is that I didn’t physically record any content. When it comes to Dad’s voice, I possess only a few voicemails, old VHS tapes and a handful of silly videos intended for social media posts. Why I didn’t think to record Dad audibly telling stories or giving advice or speaking from the heart is beyond me. I simply wrote them down on my laptop in an extremely succinct fashion.


What I regrettably don’t have are narrated photos or video recordings with any special meaning. With the StoryCombs narrated photo feature, you can capture memories of loved ones with their face and voice attached to a special photo. The app combines the photo and story to create a narrated photo, and allows you to organize narrated photos into photo albums to save stories by topic. Then, invite family members to your hive (a private group) to add their own narrated photos to the family narrative.


My Mom wishes she had more information about her own Dad, who passed in 2011. Had she had StoryCombs, Mom could have captured my Grandpa’s voice detailing how he attained the Bronze star for Heroism in World War II. Being a history teacher, Mom wishes she had more of a tangible and firsthand account of her grandparents coming through Ellis Island, and their immigration experience from Italy as a whole.


I would cherish hearing my Dad’s voice accompanied by a photo of our family adventure, (my first) to Disney World 26 years ago, or to hear him again tell the tales of his epic wedding, allegedly the pinnacle of nuptials in my parent’s friend circle, accompanied by his wedding photo with Mom. I wish I could hear Dad humbly explain the celebratory photo when he achieved a writing award for his sports column decades ago or listen to him rave about the Buffalo Bills or The Beatles, two of his absolute favorite entities in life. If Dad's passing had happened in 2019, I would have had the ability to capture this content using StoryCombs. There are many things I either forgot to ask him or that I forgot the answers to, which I can only attribute to the frenetic nature of the time period.


Because what’s missing from my last conversations with Dad is his voice, his mannerisms, his chuckle and his expressions. What I have are lifeless words on a screen, without the explanatory details and jovial anecdotes surrounding his answers to my questions. What’s missing is that if I decide to have children, I have finite content to share with them about their Grandpa Ragan. I wish for my sake and for my Mom’s that I had better recorded Dad’s wishes for our futures and memories of his past.


I cannot stress enough the importance of utilizing StoryCombs to capture what’s in your loved one’s heart in an eternal way. Not only will you personally be grateful, but in the future when reminiscing with a friend, a child, a partner or whomever about your ailing or lost loved one, you can pair, “I wish you could have known him,” with, “I have a way for you to get to know him much better.”




The StoryCombs team created this blog to encourage, inform, and inspire your storytelling journey. Try the StoryCombs app to curate a lasting legacy through narrated photos. We believe your family’s narrative is precious and deserves a safe place to live and grow.


If you found this article helpful or have questions, please let us know by email (hello@storycombs.com) or in the comment section. We can’t wait to hear from you!


For more storytelling tutorials and inspiration, visit our homepage and blog: www.storycombs.com.

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