A Living Memorial for Laura Duering

Laura Duering’s daughter, Vivien, wanted to celebrate her mother’s life, so she invited friends and family to a party to bid their final farewells to Laura on Sunday, June 11th.

Although she is full of sparkle at 93, her doctors have given her just a few weeks or months to live. As she said at the party, “They have me all painted up.” She will be 94 in August, if she makes it that long. She is fully aware of her limited time.

I volunteered to video this “Living Memorial.” Twenty-three people spoke on camera to Laura, some one-on-one, some in a group. Many recalled former good times, some going back as far as 70 years. Others were in full denial, “You are looking great. “Hang in there.” “See you again soon.” Others cried and acknowledged their coming loss of a person they love so much. There were lots of stories about Laura’s giving nature, and how people felt so supported by her over the years. Some said “You are like a second mother to me.” To create a feeling of the rich past for the video, I dropped in a few old family photos of Laura’s life.

Laura, and the people who were there, and some who were not, have seen the video which is up on Vimeo. They love it.

If you have a relative or friend who is nearing the end of his or her life, you might think of putting on a “Living Memorial.” After all, what good is a funeral? Why wait until the person is dead to say all these nice things? A video of the process may mean a lot to everyone involved, maybe even to grandchildren years later. All you need is an iPhone and a quiet room.










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