What is Legacy Work?
We all are stories; a collection of experiences that have shaped our lives.
Legacy can be defined as the sharing or gifting of something that we leave behind when we die. But legacy is more than this. Legacy is about sharing knowledge and stories, thoughts, and ideas, pieces of ourselves that we want to pass along to those we love.
Within these stories are the experiences that shaped us into who we are. It is in these legacy conversations that we begin to learn things like how we find and make meaning in our lives, when we feel most alive, or what are some of our greatest accomplishments.
Why do Legacy Work?
Legacy is about prolonging one’s influence across space and time. It is about creating something that will reflect you who are and what you lived for. It is a way to communicate what you have experienced and felt but also what you hope for others.
Beyond this, research has shown that people who have engaged in legacy work can experience a continued sense of purpose and meaning, and it can have an enhanced end of life experience for people nearing death. Furthermore, it can increase a personal sense of dignity while also helping a person navigate and process the reality of dying and leaving their people behind.
What Do We Offer?
The opportunity to participate in the creation of a documentary style legacy package.
Filming your legacy conversation will allow for the creation of a customized legacy film that can include, but would not be limited to, the conversation itself, the opportunity to have your portrait taken in you so choose and, with support from yourself and your loved ones, to incorporate family photos/home videos and other personalized video footage beyond the conversation as appropriate/possible. All these elements will be used to create your personalized legacy video.
The length of the final film will be dependent on the length of our conversations, extra materials provided, and any additional content required.
Where, when, and how long it will take to film the conversation, itself will greatly depending on your health and ability at the time of filming. We will do our best to complete the film in its entirety as quickly as possible. This will ideally be within a 2–3-week time frame but sooner when possible. Having your personalized items available (photos, videos, etc.) will help us to stay within these timelines.
How Do I Prepare for The Legacy Work?
Once you have decided that you want to engage in this legacy work, we will provide you with a list of questions that may be asked to get you thinking and reflecting. This may also be a good time to start looking through photo albums, letters, or any other documents of significance that you may like included in the final piece. You may ask for help from your loved ones to narrow down possible family photos/videos you would like used.
Based on your health, determining the best location is also an important consideration. All efforts will be made to film in a location that is comfortable to you but again, we realize, that given various health conditions, location options may be limited.
Legacy Video Costs:
- Session fees at a rate of $200 per 50-minute hour plus travel costs * (plan for 2 ½ or more hours, if possible, for filming. More than one day may be required)
- Editing the film at a rate of $120 per 60-minute hour ** (estimate of 4-10 hours will be dedicated to editing)
If you have benefits that cover the cost of Social Work, the in-person session appointments can be submitted to your insurance provider.
In total we estimate it will take anywhere between 2-6 hours of in-session time which will be billed as therapy sessions. These conversations will include initial conversations about the legacy work, the planning and preparation process, the legacy conversations themselves as well as any other needed appointments while the editing is being done. There will also be an appointment booked to review the piece together.
*Mileage will be charged at a rate of $0.75 per kilometer travelling to and from your home within 2 hours of Kitchener-Waterloo.
** Some insurance providers will cover the cost of Document Preparation and Plan Development and Formulation. The editing of your legacy piece will be invoiced under these headings for you to submit to your provider but please note that many of these costs are NOT covered by extended health benefit plans.
Editing, on average, is estimated to take anywhere from 4-10 hours depending on the length of the conversations filmed, additional materials submitted, or any additional video or audio required.
Legacy on Behalf Of...
This work is done after the death of your person and can be conducted over time with your grief therapist. Some of the first conversations will be spent with you and your grief, listening to stories about your person and helping facilitate at-home work to prepare for creating a final piece on behalf of your person.
It is possible that the bulk of this work can be done in sessions including some editing processes. It is also possible to do this work virtually using shared screens and cloud storage for images/videos/documents.
For ‘legacy on behalf of…’ work, the final piece can take on a variety of forms. Examples are: photobooks, slide shows or even a video piece using home movies and audio that, with your support, can be edited in a way that captures the essence of your special person.
Brian Douglas is a Registered Social Worker with a Masters degree from the University of Toronto and over a decade of experience working with children, youth and families. Drawing from a variety of therapeutic models, he believes that you are the expert on your life and his role is to facilitate conversations; to ask questions that bring out your strengths and that challenge you to get supportively uncomfortable.
Brian recently produced 'a beautiful death', a short film exploring death and dying and the importance of living up until the point of our death. It is about connecting, re-connecting and getting uncomfortable with those around you. This film won and was screened during the 2021 Grand River Film Festival.