Interview with Joy Robertson, CBS affiliate Anchor

Photographer Captures the 'Last Days of Extraordinary Lives'

(Springfield, MO) -- Not everyone wants to appear on camera on their best day, so it's rare to find someone willing to do it on their last day. As our population ages, people are starting to consider end-of-life issues. Some folks who are already there want to show the world that life is a celebration from start to finish. Their faces reflect a certain wisdom, a perspective, and a knowing that many of us don't have. They're the face of hospice and they all have a story.

"You know, this idea, like so many ideas, started out little," says director Randy Bacon.

Photographer Randy Bacon got more than a little interested in hospice -- from his clients.

"They would come in and say, 'hey, we work for hospice and I had the greatest day today,' I'm like, 'are you serious? Hospice. Are you serious?'" Bacon says.

He considered a series of still photographs, then stories, and it grew from there, to a 90-minute documentary.

"The Last Days of Extraordinary Lives" follows over a dozen patients, all from in and around the Ozarks.

"Fourteen patients, 14 families," says Bacon. "Everything from a 2-year-old child to an Amish family to a young adult," says Jinene Trejo of Mercy St. John's Home Care and Hospice.

Trejo says Bacon, St. John's and two other hospice organizations signed on for the project not realizing the impact it would have on audiences -- or on them.

"I've always loved you, you've been my best friend, my sweet daughter," says one hospice patient to her daughter in a tender moment.

"Do you talk about love? Yes. Do you talk about family? Yes. Do you talk about sitting at the table and playing Scrabble? Yes. Do you talk about, wow, I just didn't make enough money? No they didn't," Bacon says.

"Why am I working so much? My kids aren't going to remember all those crumbs under my table. Why am I so worried about doing this, and this..." says Shannon Bacon, the film's assistant director.

They're hopeful audiences will see that life's journey is more about celebrating life than leaving it behind.