Son captures mother's life story, battle with Alzheimer's and dementia before her death
LONDON, ONT. -- “Love you mummy, I love you...you’re the best, the best, the best,” Kathie and her son Scott share a goodbye in one of the last videos of her life.
Kathie Simpson led a full and interesting life,
“I have seen so many things, and people say to me, ‘Have you ever?’ And I just look at them and go, yeah. Never mind me telling you what it is, yeah!”
Like thousands of Canadians, Scott Simpson is watching as his mother deteriorates while suffering from dementia. It’s a difficult process, but early on, Simpson decided to sit his mom Kathie down to document her life.
“We noticed at Christmastime the year before that she kept asking the same questions over and over again, ‘How old's your boy? Oh he’s getting so big, What’s his name?” he says.
Scott decided to create an 'Heirloom Video' to capture the stories of growing up, and meeting her husband, so he would have those recorded for prosperity. But that decision was made quickly because the nature of the disease.
“I thought, this is going to progress and sometimes it progresses quickly, and just went through her whole life, knowing that before too long she wouldn’t be able to tell those stories again.”
During the filming, the early stages became even more evident.
“At the time she knew that she was sitting down to ask questions about her life, although there was a moment during it, where she looks through the lights and and go, 'Are you my son?''
He says he continued to film his mother to document her battle with the disease
“It’s not like she’s going to say anything profound at this point, but if she does…I’d smack myself if I missed it,” Scott said in an interview just days before her death on Dec. 17.
The experience has led him to want to do the same for other people, starting Heirloom Videos, so others can have a recorded legacy of their loved ones
“We can ask questions like - What do you want people to know about you forever? What is the greatest achievement in your life? What was the hardest thing you ever had to recover from? The questions that could have gone unasked.”
Like photographs in generations past preserved the likeness, Scott believes these videos can do the same with information and memories that can be passed down to future generations.