It's a Wrap!
My parents were in town this past weekend, and with this in mind, I hired a videographer to interview them.
Why would I do this?
It actually goes back to 2005...
October 8, 2005 was one of the saddest days of my life. It's the day that I lost my grandmother to stage 4 lung cancer.
I remember the day I got the call from my parents telling me that grandma had cancer. She had gone into the hospital for a routine check-up and discovered that she had cancer. It was dramatically advanced and she only had 2 weeks to live.
My heart sank and I fell to the ground in my office and wondered, "how the HELL could this happen?" It was a mix of emotion. I felt shock, sadness, regret, helplessness – I loved this wonderful woman.
Did I tell her how much I loved her? Did I remind her often enough how much she meant to me? Did we spend as much time together as we could have spent, doing the things she enjoyed? Did she know how thankful I was for her and the impact she had on my life?
I dropped everything, got into my car and drove to her, just to get by her side to spend as much time as possible with her.
I wish you could meet my grandmother...
Her name was Reah and I was fortunate enough to know her for most of my life, and especially to spend much of her last days with her. On October 8, 2005, she lost her life to cancer but the memories we shared together live on: Growing up near her, I literally would stay all night with her for weeks on end just sitting around watching TV, putting puzzles together, making candles, sharing stories about my grandpa Ben and how hard he worked to raise the family. She was a good ole' fashion genuinely great person.
Here’s an awesome picture of my grandmother Reah and her sister in a limo I rented for her to go to the family Christmas party. This was the first time she was in a limo and I’m thankful I was able to do this for her. It was a huge hit at the family Christmas party. (I’m so thankful that I didn’t put this off just to save a few bucks. Some folks look at the money plus they put things off to avoid spending money but this was a lifetime memory and the money I spent didn’t matter because the memory was priceless.)
So, why am I fighting back the tears and writing this to you? Why am I sharing about the saddest day of my life?
I was recently in a meeting with a great guy named Jim who had a similar story with one of his relatives. We were talking about life and I told him about my grandmother He then mentioned something he’d read by Brendon Burchard – an author, speaker, and trainer (who is probably most famous for his books The Millionaire Messenger and The Charge.) So I checked out what Brendan wrote...
Turns out, like many other people, Brendon also lost someone to cancer and he recognized that losing someone doesn’t have to mean losing their message and wisdom and love and memory. Like me, he knew that we should celebrate the person’s life for as long as they are with us and preserve their legacy after they’re gone. So he put together a list of interview questions and urged his audience to interview their loved ones as a way to get to know them better and to preserve the important things they have to say.
A record of wisdom and love
Inspired from his thinking, I put together my own questions that I would ask if I were interviewing a loved one. I wish I’d interviewed my grandmother before she passed. I would have a video that I could watch and share with my family.
Could you imagine having a video from your great, great grandparents discussing their life story? It’s as if they reach through time and speak directly to you! Their story could help explain and shape who you are and potentially could become! It’s an influential notion many of us wish we had access to but unfortunately don’t.
Although I never was able to record an interview with my grandmother, I do have an audio that I created for my grandmother in which I told her how much she meant to me. It was recorded on an old fashioned tape deck and it took me all day to create the audio and then I would sit beside her bed – just her and I – and I pressed play and then I held her hand as we both cried and smiled and laughed. I’m so thankful I was able to put the words on audio for her as I know she knew how much she meant to me.
I have an audio of my thoughts for my grandmother but I don't have a video of her sharing her life and wisdom, and I feel like I'm really missing something important from her! I don’t ever want to make that mistake again with any other loved one. I want to learn from my family and I want to preserve their love and lessons for myself, my family, and generations to come.
That's why I hired a videographer to interview my parents, which we did when they were visiting recently.
The interview was emotional but I learned so much more about my parents and it was a perfect opportunity to tell them how much they mean to me.
Here are some pictures from that experience.
If you need help getting started, I’ve listed several questions at the bottom of this blog post that you can use. Change them up or use them as-is.
Your legacy-building friend,
Mark Evans DM,DN
PS, whether you decide to do one or both, I urge you to do them soon. As I learned with my grandmother, we don’t know how long we have on this earth so make the most of the time you have with your loved ones now. Tomorrow is never guaranteed!
PS, the same lesson goes for you, too: You don’t know how long YOU have on this earth. So make sure you tell your loved ones that you love them, and make sure you make the most out of every single day. If I have a legacy I want to share with this world, it’s this... Live life to the fullest. Do the things you love with the people you love. Don’t waste a moment!
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER WHEN RECORDING A MESSAGE TO YOUR LOVED ONE
Here are some questions that I wrote down to answer when I did my recording for my grandmother. You may need to modify this slightly, depending on who you are talking to…
1. [Name], we are here and I’m so thankful for this opportunity to be able to do this. I have a lot I want to share with you.
2. I wanted to share with you some of my most memorable memories I’ve had with you...
3. I wanted to let you know how thankful I am of you...
4. I wanted to share how you made me feel...
5. I wanted to share with you how special you are to me...
6. I always laugh out loud when I think of... (have them talk about times we had together)
7. I will carry out anything you need me to do in my life and pass the torch on... (What do you want me to carry out on your behalf?)
8. Thank you for being such a great inspiration/ person to me...
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR LOVED ONE WHEN RECORDING AN INTERVIEW WITH THEM
Below is a list of questions that you can ask your loved ones. Some of these questions may need to be edited slightly, depending on who they are, and some questions may need to be repeated (such as if you’re asking about siblings and you have several). In some questions, I’ve also added additional clarifying questions in parentheses so you can prompt your interviewee to help them broaden their answer.
Credit: Brendon Burchard created his own list and that list inspired mine. A couple of the questions are similar but I’ve created my own list of questions below. Want to give credit to Brendan for the inspiration.
TIP: I recommend that you hire a professional videographer to help you create a high-quality video that will be cherished and watched over and over.
You can record this in any of the following ways:
- Be there in person (I would love to do this but I’d start crying on the first questions. Truthfully not everyone is like this of course.)
- If you’re far away from this person, call in on a speaker phone and ask the questions while they are being interviewed.
- Or, have the videographer ask the questions and when they finish recording the answers, they can edit you asking the questions. (This is what I did)
Also, you should always have the person you’re interviewing re ask the question. Example:
YOU: “Where were you born and where did you grow up?”
THEM: “Where was I born and where did I grow up? [and then the answer]
1. State your name.
2. Tell me the date and year you were born.
3. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
4. Describe what your life was like growing up.
5. Tell me about your parents.
6.What do you remember most about your mother?
7. What do you remember most about your father?
8. How did your parents meet?
9. If they had a message to share with their grandchildren, what would it be?
10. What are your fondest memories of your childhood?
11. What are your fondest memories of your teenage years?
12. Tell me about how you met your spouse. (Where did you meet? How did you meet? How did you know they were the one you wanted to marry?)
13. How would you describe your spouse?
14. Tell me about your career. (How did you choose that career? What made you successful at it?)
15. Tell me about some of the best times in your life.
16. Tell me about some of the most difficult times in your life.
17. What helped you get through the difficult times?
18. What events in your life do you think most shaped your life?
19. How did having children change your life?
20. Tell me about what life was like when you had each child. (Repeat this question for every child the person had.)
21. How would you describe the life you lived?
22. What do you want to be remembered for?
23. What are your fondest memories in life, overall?
24. What are you most proud of in life?
25. If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently?
26. If you could make any change to the world, what would it be?
27. What message would you like to share with your family?
28. What things do you want me to pursue in the future on your behalf to keep your legacy living?