I have been asking my son to experience the Black Folder Project and give me feedback for some time now. With the quarantine because of the Corona Virus we were able to make that happen last Sunday.
The day before he had been walking around looking depressed (and he's NEVER depressed). He's watched me go through countless depressions over the years, but I've never seen him depressed. He explained it to me what was going on...and then agreed to "talk about his death".
I had to really pray about this because the purpose of the Project is to show people the value of their lives, reflect on that and start anew since they are still alive. I mean I really prayed hard that going through the exercises in the booklet would be helpful to help and help him get out of his depression.
So, Sunday morning came and I was cleaning and didn't even bother him about when (time) he wanted to go over the workshop material. I had gone to the shop the day before and gotten all the materials I would need. The below board, a workbook (I call a lifebook), calculator, mirror and a blackfolder project pen. He came out of his room, still looking depressed, and said he wanted to go ahead and do the project now. So, I gathered my materials and put them in the living room.
Once I started I realized that I was not in "trainer" mode. Detached, working, going through the content/material. I was in "mother" mode. My son was hurting and I needed to help him. That changed EVERYTHING about my delivery of the material.
I realized as I was going through the material that I had started my black folder for him and that rang true through the review of the life book.
As I was telling the reason I started the project and I got to the part about back in July 2012 when I was going to have my first workshop while I was living in Charlotte and the reason it didn't happen was because my mother (his grandmother) died, I completely broke down in tears.
I just cried.
Then I thought back on my cousin Diane telling me that I didn't know how I would react as I developed this project because now my mother's death and her funeral were intricately entwined in the project.
My son went though the life story exercise, the footprints and asking himself who he was to lead up to writing his first letter for his black folder.
I showed him my black folder that I have had now for almost 20 years. It was thick with many documents. That made it real for him because it was a folder he would open one day.
The next day I asked him what he thought about the experience and he said he loved it. He didn't look depressed anymore! I am hopeful that it was a timely exercise in his life and that it helped refocus him during this crazy time in the world.
I came to a couple of conclusions and decisions after doing this one-on-one:
- If I have to do this one-on-one then that's how it will be.
- It will be a PWIW (Pay What It is Worth) Project.
- It will be a count the numbers project like McDonald's burgers sold - Black Folders in the world - currently there are 9 (Me, Sharon, Diane, Keefee, Paula, Linda, Myra, Edna, David) but the goal is a black folder in every home.
- I will start creating a list of resources - local for now - life insurance agents, funeral homes, lawyers for wills, financial planners, etc. so people will have suggested sources and eventually get to the point those resources will offer discounts for people who have a black folder lifebook.
- I will train facilitators to teach for the project.
- Will start the #BlackFolderProject:
- Send out Daily Meditations
- Feature People for one year after the Black Folder Project Experience
- Upon Death Stories - how it was easier because their loved one had a black folder
I also realized when I looked at both mine and my son's significant event life stories that death of our loved ones played a big role.
Getting and surviving cancer has changed me...for the better.
Getting and surviving cancer has changed my outlook on the project...forever.