Upon being diagnosed with terminal cancer, my thoughts, you would expect, would be dominated by questions such as, What does this mean for me? How much will it hurt? How much time do I have, and how could this happen to me?
But this was not the case. My overwhelming concerns revolved around my loved ones.
My name is Adam Darby, and I was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in June 2018. At that time, the disease had spread to my lymph nodes and liver. According to the doctors, I had a chance for survival. Well, after three brutal rounds of different chemotherapy, radiation treatment and months of feeling like hell, CT scans showed otherwise. Cancer had invaded my lungs and spread like a wildfire in my liver. This was going to kill me.
Sarah, my beautiful wife of more than 20 years, and my three children, Annabelle, Amelia and Zachary, had been the joy of my life and the story of my life.
So I wanted to leave behind not only my appreciation for them but also my hopes and dreams for their future. I had heard of some good ways to do that, such as writing cards for future birthdays, weddings and births, or making time capsules with special items or notes to be opened at some appointed time. But these ideas didn’t hit the personal level I was hoping for – a message from the heart that they could keep forever.
That’s where Every Last Story came in.
I worked ahead of time with my friends at Every Last Story to determine what directions my story would take, and then videographer Gary and interviewer Julie visited my home to record my videos – my gifts – for my family.
Gary took care of the sound and the lighting, and Julie helped draw out the messages I wanted to share. This was such a relief because I was able to focus on what I wanted to leave behind for my family without having to burden them with video production and without revealing my messages for them ahead of time. The Every Last Story team took care of professional video editing – working with me on what to keep, how to organize the material and how to order the edited content for a funeral service video.
And the team helped sort through music and family photos to weave into my story, adding yet another personal and poignant touch. The result was a set of professionally produced videos for my loved ones to keep – and treasure – forever.
But they were also a treasure for me. As I said in my video, I was dying of cancer, but I was dying a happy man. I was able to leave behind beautiful memories of my loved ones and my heartfelt hopes and dreams for their future.
And I felt as if I could leave this world with a sense of peace.