After people find out what I do for a living, the question I get asked most is, “How did you come up with this idea? What is your background in? History?”
Nope. Not history–though I do love history. My background is the reason, in so many seemingly unrelated ways, I started this company with no money, no business background, and no clue (initially) what I was doing. None of those things mattered because the idea and the potential impact of these services was just too important.
Without getting into the deep details, which I will do in my TMC blog, the short story is that I had an amazing childhood filled with happy, colorful memories. Then, my big brother drowned when I was 12. Not long after, my dad got sick with a rare disease and died a few months after I turned 13. Around that same time, my Aunt Pat, my favorite person, personal hero, and inspiration, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that had metastasized to her spine. Though she lived another nine years (my family is known for their stubbornness), it was nine years of watching her deteriorate and wondering if and when I’d get the call no one wants to get. My paternal grandma, who helped raise me, died when I was 17. I never knew my paternal grandpa, who died long before I was born, and I know virtually nothing about him. I lost my other two grandparents within a year of one another when I was 25 and 26. I won’t even list all the furry four-legged family members I was lucky enough to have in my life for much too brief a time.
I list these lost loved ones because they are the reason I do what I do, and because I hope anyone reading this now believes why a 30-year-old might be obsessed with and actually have deep-rooted authenticity and credibility when it comes to helping others not lose their precious memories. I have one memory left of my brother Brian, who died quite suddenly without any warning. I have many more memories with my dad and my aunt, but I can’t help but wonder how many more I might have if I had been documenting my memories from a much younger age–if the adults in my life had used a service like mine to capture memories of my dad and my aunt so I could know them better as I grew up–and what stories my dad and Aunt Pat might have left me if only a service like mine had existed for them to do so. What things would I know about my grandparents if the generation above me might have used a service like mine to document their lives? Or if only I had recorded the conversations I had with them about their lives so I could share their stories with my future kids.
The point is… these are all people that I love, and many of the memories I had of them are gone. Many people think memory begins to go later in life, but it happens so much sooner than we think.