Perspective changes when you become a parent. You finally walk in your parents' shoes while they sit back and laugh as their grandchildren do to you what you did to them. You experience this love that you could never possibly imagine before and no one could expect you to understand even if they find a way to explain it. Everything else becomes so insignificant, so trivial. You "get it".
Perspective also changes when you lose a loved one, especially a parent. These people who you most likely worshipped, at least mildly, and were your main source of guidance and learning. These giants of your world who did everything in your best interest to help you grow and have an even better life than they had. All of a sudden, these rocks, these pillars that have been in place since you were brought into the world are gone. Your foundation is shaken no matter how many other pillars have been erected over the course of your life.
Like with any big life event, a lot of people have already gone through this new experience in your life. But it’s the first time for you. You are engulfed by it. It overwhelms and overshadows everything else in your life. Your focus on anything outside of this experience is minimal, at best. Both of the aforementioned perspectives were opened up to me within 13 days of each other. For someone who has always tried to live in the moment, maintain a calm and collected demeanor, been able to compartmentalize and separate thoughts/feelings/emotions from the rest of life, my world was completely rocked. Trying to handle the highs and the lows, separate what I was feeling into the buckets of immense joy and immense loss was paralyzing.
My dad wrote letters to my mom, sister, and me before he died. We found these shortly after he passed. At the time, it was another reminder he was gone, something that made me immediately burst into tears. Now I read that letter at least once a week and cherish it immensely. That letter was the spark that got Ultimo Gifts started, but it also got me thinking about what I would leave behind for my son. I have a strong belief that how we treat people and make them feel, how we interact and speak with each other, and how we lead our lives and lead by doing is how we continue to “live” after death. We impact everyone in our lives no matter how much we notice or how significant the nudge in whatever direction our interaction sends them. This is the most powerful legacy, in my mind. And I plan to put my best self forward for my son and for everyone in my life. However, I also want my son to be able to look back and have physical reminders of how much I loved him, not just what is in his heart and mind.
Ultimo Gifts is one of those simple things to do before you die to ensure physical memories are present. Technology today makes it easier than ever to capture and store memories. Instagram alone has an estimated 95 million(!) photos uploaded every day. The content you put on Instagram and other social media accounts are ways to be remembered after you die, for sure. But preparing other, more personalized, remembrances before you die can have a profound and lasting impact on those you love most.
So what’s the plan for my son? Utilize Ultimo Gifts to commemorate those special days. Again, it’s a simple thing to do before you die and gives peace of mind that impactful gifts and notes will reach your loved ones. My wife and I also plan to make videos each year around our son's birthday. I also want to write letters with my wishes for him, what I’ve learned in life, and any other wisdom I can pass along in addition to expressing my deep love for him as best I can. What's your plan? Whatever it is, make it something memorable and from the heart.