We're all on borrowed time. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed for any of us. I don't open with this to be dark. My point is that if you are inspired to do something, you should not procrastinate. If you have any inclination whatsoever to interview a family member, don't waste time.
As I shared this project with friends during the early planning process, those who had already lost a parent responded similarly: "I wish we did something like that for my dad. If you were doing this while my dad was still here, I would have totally had you interview him." When our parents/grandparents are still here with us, life gets in the way and it's easy to take their existence for granted.
If you had intimate conversations with your parent about their life, you can't possibly remember everything. Even if your memory was excellent, those memories would still quickly fade between generations. I took a road trip with my father last summer, long before I conceived of this project. I seized the opportunity to ask probing questions about his life, subject matter I previously had not thought to ask or was not comfortable to ask. As much as I think I vividly recall the ride, I could not competently reproduce the conversation to my children. Even if I could, it would quickly (if not immediately) be forgotten by them. I could have taken notes, and even typed them up for posterity. However, notes taken by me, a third party, would still be diluted by my own perception of the conversation. My notes, or my memory, are no substitute for my kids watching my dad speak directly.
If you have half an inclination to record an interview with a loved one, even if you don't hire me, please do it! You do not want to experience the regret of missing that opportunity, especially if you have or will have children. Your children will benefit greatly from knowing their ancestry, even if they don't immediately appreciate the gift - they will one day. You will benefit from feeling closer to your parent and your heritage. The person being interviewed will benefit the most, as this is an act of validation, recognition, respect and love.
About the Blog
Here I write about the evolution of this project, the act of preserving life stories and personal development. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.