Lisa F’s Video Experience

Lisa F’s Video Experience

Dear Kate,
I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll just start with a heartfelt “thank you!” Thank you for your support, encouragement, friendship and dedication to the beautiful work you do.
It is an emotionally draining experience, how can it not be? But you made it easier. You listened to me, gave me a shoulder to cry on, and encouraged me. You helped me work through any anxiety I had about making my video. You calmed my fears.

I think a common fear is that “if I do this video for my loved ones, does it mean I am giving up?” “Am I doing this because I think I will be gone six months from now?” This is not my “final farewell,” it is a “celebration of life” documentary. It is a chronicle of my life – past, present and future. I am able to tell my children about the past – how daddy and I met, how overjoyed I was the day they were born, how my life was renewed when my family was complete.
The present is the most important. I was able to tell my boys how I feel right now. How they inspire me, lift my spirits, make me whole. Tell them how much I love and adore them, how proud I am of them. I shared with them (as I always do) many of life’s most important lessons: love with all your heart; laugh often; don’t take yourself too seriously; treat others with kindness; give as good as you get. I told them to believe in themselves, to look in the mirror and like who they see.

My Life Chronicles video allows me to give all of me, the best of me, to my husband and to my boys should I not be here. They will be able to hear my voice, my laugh any time they are sad and missing me. They will be able to see themselves interacting with me – see the beauty, intimacy and truth of our connection. Not even death can sever our bond.
Now that I have the done the video for my children, I find that I desperately wish my mother had done something like this for me. But there wasn’t an opportunity for her. It would have been an extraordinary gift if my mom could have found out about you and the amazing work that you do. It would be the most precious of gifts for me if I could just here her say she loved me, that she was proud of me.

In May of 1996, I was on the Oprah Winfrey Show honoring my mother on a Mother’s Day special. My mom and I were on stage together and I read her a poem I had written, as pictures of us through the years were shown on a big screen. My mother was 49 years old and had terminal colon cancer; she died just 2 ½ months after the show aired. She was dying and I was full of life and promise.
A mere ten years later, at the age of 39, I have terminal breast cancer. I watch the episode of Oprah and I see a girl who could never have imagined herself in her mother’s shoes. Yet I now walk the same path, and suffer the same daily pain and heartache of cancer.

With stage 4 breast cancer that has spread to my liver, leaving no part of it spared, I choose to live my life to the fullest. It is what it is, and I must keep moving forward. I know I can’t beat the odds, but I set out each day to redefine them. I am not a statistic. I have a lot more living to do! I have two little boys to love and nurture, and an amazing husband to grow old with. I have PTA meetings, little league games, piano recitals, gym classes, and school field trips. I am a busy mom, and I refuse to let cancer get the best of me. My family gets the best of me!

Thank you Kate for the beauty and truth you see in all of us. Helping us preserve and share these moments, messages and memories is so special. It is a treasured gift for me and my family.

With fondness and love,

Lisa F