As CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen reports, breast cancer patient Hoyt is about to tell her family how much they mean to her.
"I can't tell you how happy you have made me through the years," Hoyt says in her message.
Kate Carter has heard hundreds of stories. Her Santa Barbara company Life Chronicles produces the farewells and final thoughts for free.
Bill Schwartz recalled his return from World War II and the little girl he'd last seen as a month-old infant.
"She's now 3-years-old, and the first thing she asks me is, 'Are you my daddy?'" he says in his taped message.
Inspired by the death of a friend who didn't leave a parting message, Carter thought the videos might comfort those left behind.
"And the thread that runs through all of it, almost every single time, is that what matters in life is the connections between us," she says.
When 7-year-old Jessi Sporseen died of cancer, her parents had the videos to look back on.
"They're the most valuable thing we have," says Denise Sporseen. "When you start forgetting what her smile looked like or exactly what her voice or her laugh was, it's right there.
"It's basically she's there for us."
It's also an emotional trip for the student volunteers who serve as the camera crews.
"I try to keep my ears open, hear what life lessons these people ... learned, so at my young age I can take them with me the rest of my life," says Brian Glover.
Not all the videos are about end-of-life stories and poignant farewells. Some are about lives beginning - messages for the future.
Three days before she's due to give birth to twins, Tiffany Hausman tapes herself addressing her unborn babies.
The 20-year-old wants those twin boys to understand why she gave them up for adoption - to hear the answer from her.
"I want you to have a good life and enjoy yourselves and never doubt in your mind how much I love you and how special you've been and that I will never forget you," she says in her taped message.
It's the ultimate in reality TV: messages of life and death and farewell. It's the reality that matters.
"Well, we had a lot of fun, and I will never forget those times," Hoyt say, concluding her message.