I read an article some months ago about parents with terminal illnesses are advised to video themselves answering typical life questions that their kids might have growing up. Research has shown that kids really value seeing their parent’s facial expressions, hearing their voices, hopefully getting across some of their personality. My diagnosis means my life will probably be shorter than expected but I simply don’t know when, or if, that might happen.
I want to ensure my daughter knows just how much I love her if the worst happens. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late, perhaps unable to speak or unable to put it together properly. My wife and daughter deserve better than that so whilst my health is relatively good and the outlook is largely unknown, it’s time I put it together for her and my wife to refer to. I need my wife to know I’ll always be by her side during the parenting journey and I hope this is something she can refer to in the coming years if I’m not here. I want to help them both.
The thought of my young daughter not having me around is almost too much to bear. We had a loud thunderstorm this afternoon and one particularly violent crack of thunder had her galloping across the lounge straight into my arms, looking for comfort and safety. It makes me cry to imagine such a scene without me. My wife could provide exactly the same comfort. I just mean I sometimes imagine my wife and daughter together with my wife having to explain why daddy isn’t there and never will be. It breaks my heart.
I asked my wife for her opinion and she thought it was a good idea but had two really great insights:
- Some videos should be all about me. It would help my daughter get to know me. What do I like doing, what music do I really like, why do I like cars so much. Also, what kind of anecdotes can I tell her about how my wife and I met, what adventures have we been on, where do we like going.
- My wife mused that maybe she should do something similar. Her health isn’t in question at the moment but no one knows what might happen. It might be fascinating for our daughter to get to know us how we are now, rather than some years in the future after being her parents and that’s all she’s known of us. A very interesting thought.
Perhaps I should do videos for more people. I don’t know. It’s the middle of the night as I’m having these thoughts and it’s always darkest just before the sun returns.
I’ve chosen Google as a repository. I’ve had an account for many years and I’m taking a guess they’ll be around long enough for my daughter to access her account in a few years. Google has a Family Account feature so curation is easy as it can be tied to both mine and my wife’s accounts. I can store photos, videos, even send my daughter short emails for her to read later in life.
But I know it’s the right thing to do now. I need to draw strength from within myself and do it for my wife and daughter. They might need me in the future, perhaps looking at some ‘daddy videos’ when they hit a low point. I comfort myself by imagining that at least I’m in the room with them and they can remember that I love them both, always, with all of my heart and every last breath.