Oprah to spotlight North Texas mom who left video legacy

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on May 18, 2011 at 10:14 PM

Updated Thursday, May 19 at 12:32 PM

If you knew you were going to die, what advice would you give to your children?

More than 13 years ago, a North Texas mother answered that question. Erin Kramp chronicled her death and left behind hours of tapes, diaries and letters for her daughter Peyton, then just six years old.

Oprah Winfrey broadcast Kramp's story to the nation. She called it one of the most memorable moments in her 25 years on the air.

The Kramp family will be profiled on Thursday's Oprah show, but first they told their story of hope, courage and faith to News 8.

 

And it all started with the inspirational messages that Erin Kramp left as a living legacy.

"I had to cut three times because I kept crying, thinking, 'I can't believe I am talking to her as if I wasn't here.'"

They were messages meant to help Peyton grow up; words of advice from her mother.

"Apply your make-up that will not make you break out," she said. "You never want a line right here."

Kramp left behind hours and hours of recordings before losing her battle with breast cancer in 1998. She said this in one of her final messages to Peyton:

"I'll be watching over you. I'll be with you. You will feel me on your wedding day. I'll there watching over you. To your children, Peyton... I'll watch over them, too."

Peyton took her mother's advice to heart. Today, she is a freshman at Duke University.

"I can't touch her; I can't see her; but I can really feel her on days when I am missing her," Peyton said.

And she said her mother's messages molded her into the woman she is today.

"I think her message to stay true to myself and not compromise my morals and values really helped me in high school," Peyton said.

Erin's husband, Doug, decided to release his former's wife's final tape to Oprah Winfrey.  He said he wants to help get his wife's real message across.

In the end, Erin Kramp said "thank you" to God for her journey.

"She said, 'If I will be remembered, I want to be remembered through my faith in Christ and the strength he gave me... please don't remember me as a hero,'" Doug Kramp said.

Doug remarried, saying Erin prayed that he would.

Now, Doug's new wife Cheryl considers herself truly blessed with a loving husband and daughter.. and the couple has two children of their own.

"I think even just the miracle for me was the miracle of hope," Cheryl said. "I didn't think I would marry such a great man."

The Kramp family says they experience miracles ever day,  and are talking publicly again in hoping their story helps people find faith, hope and courage.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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