How I Got Here

This is the reason I started The Gift of Memories.

Melissa Olson

3/8/20192 min read

I'm just cruising along minding my own business.

I had a business, Instant Eden, which I had been operating since 2004. But then I took on the task of digitizing my family's home movies and everything changed. As I watched the movies of my children growing up, and the movies of people who are no longer here, I realized that these movies meant more to me than any of my possessions. They were solid gold. It wasn't just that my kids were ridiculously cute, it was that I could see how people related to one another. I could see the kernels of personality traits that are now in full bloom. I could see myself in another time - living a very different life. It was the best kind of time travel.

Along with the joyful aspects there was some sadness about people in the movies who are no longer here. It was wonderful to hear them speak and laugh. It was delightful to be reminded of their idiosyncrasies. It was important to see how they interacted with those who now hold them in memory. There is something much more powerful about showing a person a moving, living interaction they were having with their lost loved one than simply showing them a picture of that person. Having that film digitized and safely stored means that future generations will have the opportunity to really take those people in, really understand what they were like.

Around the same time the husband of a dear friend was battling cancer. I asked if I could do a video interview with him. We spent a stormy Sunday together talking about his childhood and young adulthood. It was fascinating. This man was heroic in ways that I had never imagined. His story will rightfully serve as inspiration for generations to come. Sadly, he passed before we could finish the project. What remained was such a mixed bag of feelings. I was so upset that we weren't able to finish up the story because he was so torn up by his treatment, and I was so thankful that I had the footage I did, which showed how hard he fought to stay with his loved ones.

In these days of pervasive technology it may seem like no big deal to have video footage of a person, but once that person is gone you will realize that video is your ticket to traveling back in time to bask in their full personality, to remember everything you loved about them, to find the answers to questions that only they knew. It is a huge deal to have that capability. This confluence of events led to The Gift of Memories. I realized that nothing would make me happier than to be able to provide a service to others that would forever memorialize their loved ones.

I understand the importance of preserving these images in a way that will endure. So here we are. I closed down one business and started another, and I'm very excited about preserving family stories for others.

Let me know if I can help you.