What we lose when a parent dies…

When we suffer the loss of a parent, we experience many overwhelming feelings.

For some children they struggle to come to terms with their loss.

To begin to heal it is important to examine the type of relationship we had with our parents and what we are actually losing. This creates an opportunity to recall the positive traits and memories of our parents, as well as address the painful and complicated aspects.

The Parent/Child Relationship

No one can replace a parent, as this is usually the person we have known all our lives. In our early days we rely solely on our parents for our very survival and we learn how to be social beings through them. They show us how to live in the world and we learn about ourselves through our relationship with them.

Cornwall Park Playground - c1976

Cornwall Park Playground - c1976


It’s a strange thing to stop being in the role of child and become an adult. When our parents are alive, no matter how old we are, an underlying scenario plays out. We are the child and our parents will always see us that way. When they are no longer there to mirror that back to us, we automatically become the adult in our world. We can lose our childhood, and we lose our history.

Especially when both parents have died, we no longer have someone to tell our stories to or hear their stories. We can no longer ask our parents about first steps or that funny thing that happened on our second birthday….

A Source of Love

Depending on the relationship we had with our parents, you could be loosing one of your sources of unconditional love. We have a belief that they accept us and forgive us when needed, even when we disappoint them or ourselves. That unconditional love helps us feel confident in the world, knowing they are there to support us.


When a parent dies, the wisdom that they could have passed down to us at various milestones, such as having a child, is lost. We face a future without their knowledge and their guidance.

Family System

The structure of our family system is dramatically altered. For example, if our mother or father was the family planner in the extended family, this may leave the griever left behind feeling isolated. The roles our parents played is significant in how we cope in the aftermath of their deaths. Maybe it was our father that the family came to for advice and guidance.

Buffer Against Our Own Death

We all assume that our parents will die before us, but the true understanding is not comprehended until it happens. If we have lost our grandparents and parents, we lose a buffer from the next generation. There are no longer any wise elders.  We are confronted with our own mortality.

Great Summer Adventures!

Great Summer Adventures!

Relationship From Parent/Child To Friendship

As we age, our relationship can change from one of parent-to-child to one of friendship and mutual appreciation. When this happens it can be a rewarding experience. If we lost a parent as a teen, or young adult, our relationship may not have had the opportunity to develop to its full potential. This can leave us with a sense of loss and what could have been.

Integrating What We Lose When a Parent Dies

In order to integrate the loss, this review is necessary, as it allows for us to view our parents as people who were human. It’s important to examine the kind of values our parents taught us and understand the family messages we received and why. Overtime we can evaluate and come to terms with these losses and focus on treasuring the legacies, family traditions and happy memories.

Let Magnolia Productions help you capture your precious memories and family history using “Story of a Lifetime”.  For your children, your grandchildren and future generations to cherish.


When you refer a booking of a Story of a Lifetime package, you will receive $200 worth of vouchers!

*conditions apply


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As Mother’s Day approaches it’s time to start thinking about how we show our appreciation for our Mothers, Wives and other special women in our lives. With so many options out there, we decided to put together a list of thoughtful gift ideas that are sure to make her feel loved.



1.   Preserve her “Story of a Lifetime” with Magnolia Productions


Whether this is a gift for the special woman in your life to tell her own story – or to interview a loved one of her own, this gift is sure to impress. Simply give her the gift voucher, and Magnolia Productions organises the rest, from the interview preparation, to setting up, filming, and finally editing her Story of a Lifetime.

The end result is delivered on a personalised DVD or USB to be shared amongst the family for generations to come. To find out more, read about Story of a Lifetime here.


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2.   Indulge her with a pamper package


Let’s face it, the mothers in our lives are busy people, and rarely have time to treat themselves. That’s why something like a spa package is ideal – they can enjoy a little peace and quiet and focus purely on themselves.

This is a great gift for any budget, either gift her a relaxing 30 minute massage for those on a budget, or splurge on a full day’s pamper package.  Whichever you choose, make sure the spa is close by – sitting in traffic for an hour each way will ruin the experience. If you’re in Auckland, check out our friends at Unwind Massage and Reflexology.


3.   Escape on a weekend away


Often holidays can be even more stressful for mothers than simply staying home. By the time they’ve organised accommodation, transport, children and meals, there’s little time to just relax. Organising a weekend away, even somewhere close by, will really make her day.

Organise accommodation and transport, and invite that special someone along, whether it’s you, her mother, her sister, husband or a special friend, she’ll be sure to thank you for years to come.


4.   Spoil her with a gift box full of goodies


There’s definitely something to be said about gift boxes, with options for the budget conscious, through to those who wish to splurge, there’s truly something for everyone. Gift boxes can be a great idea as they let your special someone try a variety of new products, or indulge in a few old favourites.

Check out Gift Box Boutique for a wide range of Mother’s Day gift boxes - from chocolates and ECOYA candles, to champagne, tea, bathrobes, and so much more, they can deliver Mother’s Day hampers direct to her door, complete with a hand-written note to make her day. Even better – they’re a Kiwi company!

If she’s more into natural health products, check out Kesho Kits, another Kiwi company who offer a curated range of natural products, aimed at incorporating natural medicinal options into daily lives.


5.   A gift that warms the heart


Does the special woman in your life like to give back? Then get her a gift that also helps others!

Most of us know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. That’s why we love Ooh La La Candles’ Limited Edition Mother’s Day Candle. This candle comes gift boxed and with every candle sold, $5 goes to the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ supporting generations of NZ women to come.

Oxfam Unwrapped is another charity that offers gifts to help others – or you can even donate to a charity close to her heart.


6.   A clean house


Never underestimate the seemingly simple ideas. This isn’t for everyone, but if the special mother in your life spends a great deal of time cleaning, it can be super powerful. Whether you do it yourself, or organise a professional, this thoughtful gift will give the busy mother the best gift of all – time!

If she still has young children, arrange for them to be out of the house for a couple of hours for an extra special treat!


Enjoy Mother’s Day everyone - celebrating, spoiling and remembering your Mother, Wife or that special woman in your life.  


From the Magnolia Productions Team



Family business helps Kiwis tell their Story of a Lifetime

Auckland couple, Mark and Nicola Sleeman are helping New Zealanders tell their life story through the filming and producing of broadcast quality interviews. Aptly named ‘Story of a Lifetime’, these digital heirlooms are allowing families to capture personal memories, historical information and the essense of their loved ones.

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As parents themselves, Mark and Nicola know the importance of passing down family stories.  

“We set up Magnolia Productions to give every New Zealander the opportunity to be interviewed, because we believe all families have something very precious to give to their children  – their story”, says Mark. 

“Like all families, we experience the passing of loved ones in our lives. And with that comes a loss of our own family history”, says Nicola. “Family photos capture moments in time but they don't always capture the memory. How great would it be to hear the story from behind the photo, from the person themselves?” 

These are the stories that Magnolia Productions capture on film for families.

Having worked in broadcasting for 25 years, Mark has edited, filmed and produced for One News, Holmes, 20/20 and TVNZ’s flagship current affairs show Sunday.  “I’ve spent my career producing stories for the New Zealand audience and it’s been a privilege to be a part of their lives” says Mark. “Now, I can offer the same for families too”.

Magnolia Productions works closely with families, providing the tools to create a relaxed recorded interview.  It’s family interviewing family, in the comfort of their own home, over a cup of tea.  Once back in the edit suite, they produce a moving in depth interview.  From childhood memories, travel, finding love, and how it was in the good ol’ days!  All this presented on a commemorative USB for the family to cherish and share with generations to come.


To find out more, or to book in to tell your Story of a Lifetime, head to magnoliaproductions.co.nz or give the team a call on 09 622 1105.