top of page
  • janetgoncalves

If William Shatner Can Create a Legacy Project, So Can You

As portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, the “Star Trek” character of Spock had a most famous phrase, “Live long and prosper”. William Shatner played Captain Kirk, and he may have taken that phrase to heart both on and off the screen.


I stumbled across a recent online article where William Shatner was being profiled by Variety magazine about his new documentary “You Can Call Me Bill.” The 91-year-old actor expressed that he doesn't "have long left to live”.

"You Can Call Me Bill" chronicles the actor's career highlights, ranging from his time on "Star Trek" to the series "T.J. Hooker" and "Boston Legal".

“This documentary is a way of reaching out after I die," explained the actor regarding his choice to release a documentary.  He “hopes his documentary will speak to his grandchildren as they get older.” In essence, he has created a legacy project.

A legacy project is some type of physical thing that you create to communicate your legacy to those who come after you. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines legacy as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”

Not everyone can create documentaries. My posted 111 blogs are my death doula legacy. Some legacy project ideas that I encourage as a death doula for my clients include:

•       Quilt, crafts, or other handmade items for each family member

•       Biography

•       Scrapbook

•       Photo album

•       Recorded messages (audio/visual)

•       Family tree/genealogical information

•       Recipe collections (handwritten)

•       Spend time teaching a skill to family members

•       Journal, stories

We are all capable of becoming vulnerable with our own mortality. Some people may be inherently more at peace with death at the end of a long life, as seems to be the case with Mr. Shatner. Others find the dying process difficult to face no matter how old they get or how often they experience the death of a loved one.

When you are ready to confront your own mortality, it’s important to remember that you don't have to do it alone. In addition to your friends and family, death doulas like me, grief counselors, support groups, religious communities, and health care providers can also provide resources and support.

In conclusion, I also extend Spock’s familiar greeting of “Live long and prosper” as well as my own favourite quote of hoping you have “A life well-lived and a death well-planned”.

Article sources: William Shatner Says ‘I Don’t Have Long Left To Live,’ Unveils Documentary About His Life

Story by Emerson Pearson • March 10, 2023, 12:16 p.m.

Cicirelli V. Death Attitudes and the Older Adult. (Tomer A, ed.). Psychology Press; 2000:187-189.


Photo credit: William Shatner© Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP


5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Victorian Funerary Food Traditions

Often when someone dies, there is a wake with a funeral reception afterwards  which includes some refreshments. Is this death ritual performed out of hospitality or does it have deeply rooted connecti


bottom of page