June 15, 2014, - 4:31 pm
When my late father was dying of cancer, he kept it a secret from us as long as possible. He said it was because he didn’t want us to mourn him in his last days while he was still alive and wanted to live out his life with us. But I wish I’d done something that USA Today tech columnist Jefferson Graham did do. He videotaped his father in an interview, and now he has that for posterity. He calls it a priceless gift, and he is absolutely right. Even though my dad’s been gone almost seven years, every day I have questions I wish I would have asked him. I wish I’d made a video interview like Graham did, and maybe you still can. Read what he did and what he suggests you do (if you are lucky enough to still have your father around):
On my final Saturday with my dad, we walked for two hours in the Santa Cruz hills. After lunch we returned to the house, where Jerry Graham indulged me by answering questions about his life, on video. Little did either of us realize that he would be dead of a sudden heart attack within 36 hours, that this encounter would be my final chance to learn details of his life that only he could reveal. So as we approach Father’s Day, I urge everyone to sit down with their dads to record and preserve these personal stories for future generations. Before it’s too late.
We live in an era unlike any other in history, where most of us now have a video camera in our pocket — the smartphone. Let’s use the tool to tell and preserve our stories. . . .
My dad had resisted revisiting the past. I had only gotten him to sit for me on video once before, in 2008, but it was brief. But as he entered what we assumed would be his final decade, I figured I would wear him down and get to chronicle his whole life, in chapters, over visits. So on this Saturday afternoon, just three days shy of his 79th birthday, I had my video gear in the trunk, just in case. Surprisingly, there was no struggle to get this video discussion off the ground. . . .
So sons and daughters, talk to your fathers this weekend. Record their stories and learn more about their lives. You’ll be thrilled you took the time, and so will future generations.
Some tips for a video interview of your dad . . .
I so wish I had done this. But it is too late now. I know exactly what I would have asked my dad about. What would you ask your dad on video?
Jefferson Graham has some great suggestions for the interview.
Tags: dads, Father's Day, father's day video, fathers, Happy Father's Day, interview your father, Jefferson Graham