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Book offers chance to create personal messages to pass on to loved ones

The loss of close family, together with a friend’s diagnosis, inspired a swimming teacher from Cambridgeshire to come up with the idea for a book that lets people share personal messages and memories with their family and friends, and even future generations.

Before I Go is a personal journal that the writer fills with personal messages or memories, ready to pass on to loved ones when the time comes to say goodbye.

It can be filled in one go or gradually, and can include pictures, thoughts, wishes and whatever else the writer chooses. The page suggestions include: ‘Wise Words’; ‘Favourite Songs, Poems and Films’; ‘Wishes For Your Family’ and ‘Milestones to Celebrate’, and there is also a space for a sealed envelope entitled ‘My Send Off’, to communicate funeral wishes.

Creator Verna Scott-Culkin says the idea works both for people who have a terminal illness, and those just wanting to leave wishes and thoughts for their family. She lost her father to cancer and mother-in-law to Alzheimer’s and one of her closest friends – a busy mum of two young kids – was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It would have been something my dad may have filled in privately and my mother-in-law could have filled in on her ‘good’ days

Verna came up with the idea of a book that could be filled with love, advice, wishes and even recipes, which would be beneficial in all these circumstances. 

“It would have been something my dad may have filled in privately and my mother-in-law could have filled in on her ‘good’ days, and my friend could just take control of something when her world felt it was collapsing around her,” she explained.

The book is now selling on Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, here and in the US and Australia. She’s also had a little help from retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis whom she tweeted during Small Business Sunday. He retweeted to his 500,000 Twitter followers:  “Most people, when they hear about and see the book for the first time, get a little emotional.

“After that though, I get to hear wonderful stories – things they haven’t told their family – all things they say they’ll put in ‘their’ book.”

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