NEW YORK (CBS 2) — If you’ve ever gone through the pain of losing someone you love, you know the grieving process is heart-wrenching.
While everyone handles it differently, some families are choosing to face death in a new way, leaving behind a lifetime of memories.
Lewis Goldberg lost his mother to cancer just five months ago, but before she died, Leslie Goldberg made a video for her family. Lewis couldn’t bring himself to watch it until now, when he watched it with his wife, Melissa, for the first time.
“Lewis, as a baby, you were adorable,” Leslie said in the video. “You were blonde with brown eyes, you were really smart, and you started to speak at nine months in full sentences, and it totally freaked me out.”
“Getting to see her alive is amazing. The stories that I’m hearing, I know them,” Lewis told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu. “But there’s other things that she’s saying, that I wish I had the opportunity to have that conversation with her now.”
It’s difficult for Lewis to talk bout his mother’s death, and it was hard to face it when she was fighting cancer, so when Melissa first approached her husband with the idea of a videotape, he rejected it.
“I said I was opposed to it completely, and I said, ‘don’t ask my mom, you’re going to really hurt her by doing this,’” Lewis said.
“Finally, one day I said, ‘you know what, this is something that he’s really going to want, and I know it’s really hard for him to talk about, but I’m going to talk to her,’” Melissa said. “I called her, and there was no hesitation in her voice. She said, ‘absolutely, I will do it.’”
Leslie sat down with Kerry Glass months before she died to share a lifetime of memories. After working in a nursing home for years, Glass started the company “Memories Live” to make videos for people who are terminally ill – at no charge.
“To give them some strength and some power, and some positive feeling that they can give this back to their family as a gift,” Glass said.
Glass takes a small tripod and video camera to customers’ homes or hospital rooms, and for about an hour asks all sorts of questions.
“They’re not dark, they’re not gloomy, they’re fun,” Glass said. “The reason for this movie is to celebrate somebody’s life, and to share life experiences and advice.”
“Kerry did something special, because she got to talk to my mother about things that she wanted to say to me, maybe that she didn’t have an opportunity to tell me directly, but she gets to tell me now,” Lewis said.
“You are really a wonderful father,” Leslie said in the video. “I watch you with Elijah and Nathan, and I wish that I could go back in time and maybe have behaved like you behave with them.”
“Even my mother, who’s healthy, she should do the same thing,” Melissa said. “Have a record, tell your stories, tell your life.”
Leslie Goldberg preserved her story for her children and grandchildren.
“I want them to be happy – being happy is the most important thing – and I want them to be the best that they can be, don’t be second-rate at anything you do,” Leslie said. “That’s what I want for my grandchildren. And I want them to be loving – just know that I love you no matter what.”
It’s a message they’ll have forever.
“Memories Live” is a non-profit company supported through donations. To learn more about it, click here.