Dealing With The Death of a Loved One in This Digital Age

Edmond T. White

No matter how much you try to prepare yourself for the death of a loved one, you’re never truly prepared for it. This past weekend my 86 year old father passed away. He lived a long and good life and of course I never thought that he would live forever. I knew that one day I would get “that call.” That call came Friday evening from my sister…

“I’m at the hospital waiting for the ambulance to arrive”

I didn’t expect good news after that and my fears were realized shortly thereafter. The rational person inside of me tried to quickly come to terms with it and be supportive of my sister who had to deal with it onsite as she was with him in Detroit and I was in Atlanta. After that call I knew it was up to me to let the rest of the family know. I called my aunt/his sister. After that call I figured I needed to post something on Facebook as many of the family is there and is spread out. The first thing of course was coming up with a picture to use. Luckily I’m fairly organized when it comes to my photos and while I found one, I knew I probably had better ones. Yet I hadn’t gone through and face tagged all of them. This reminded me of the importance of organizing photos not just of clients, but also of family. Metadata is important.

Facebook Live Streaming was the best choice

While I’m an avid Periscope user on a regular basis, most of my family is on Facebook (not Periscope). I wanted to share a LIVE update about what happened and the upcoming funeral arrangements. Facebook Live streaming was the obvious choice as I could limit the broadcast to a Facebook List of just my family members around the country. For those that couldn’t watch it live it remains on my profile for replay until I remove it.

Photos were easy, but what about videos?

Edmond T. White

Edmond T. White 1929 – 2016

I was able to locate more photos from his 75th birthday and others because they were in folders named the right way. Then I quickly started thinking about video. I wanted to see him again. I wanted to hear his voice again. Where were all the videos I had captured over the years? Had I captured video? Was he in any of the clips from our family reunions? If so which ones? He hadn’t traveled in years. So far I haven’t found any. They exist, the question is where and in what format. I have over 100 mini-DV tapes and I don’t have a mini-DV camera anymore. I have DVDs in storage. I’m sure I’ll be spending the next few weeks/months in my spare time trying to locate as much as I can.

Taking my mind off of it

At times I’m perfectly fine and at times there are tears coming down my face. One of the ways I distract myself is to bury myself in the reading of blogs and watching live streams. The funeral is this weekend. If I seem a bit out of it (more than usual :-)) I’m thanking you in advance for your understanding.

You have the technology to capture moments and save them forever

Every day we see videos on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. This is great! However, how often do we take the time to interview and capture those moments of our elders? Just point your camera at them, hit record, ask them a question and let the talk. Our smartphones are more than capable of capturing HD quality video. You can upload to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and others. You can transfer the videos to your computer and then store them along with your photo archive. You can import them into Lightroom and organize them the same way you do with your photos. What I’m trying to say here is that you cherish your loved ones and not only capture them, but make sure that you will always have access to those digital memories. Also as you upgrade to newer technologies, don’t forget to bring along your archives and upgrade the footage along the way. Lastly I want to thank you all for the hundreds, if not thousands of messages/condolences I’ve received on my various channels. I appreciate you all during this difficult time.

Memories of my Dad

Dealing with the Death of a Loved One in This Digital Age

Capture not only the memories of your children and immediate family, but don’t forget your elders.

Backup, backup and back it up again. Have your digital memories in at least 3 places with one those places being offsite.

SHARE THOSE MEMORIES. You can post videos publicly or privately via a variety of methods.

  • Don Trammell

    Hi Terry. I have been a follower for several years, and we have gone back and forth a few times when we have had disagreements but I have to say that this is by far your best blog post because it touches soooooo close to home. My mother is a spry 80 but I too know that one day I will get the call. Even as I sit here writing to you, my eyes are welling up because I don’t really know what I will do or how to handle it. Your post was sort of a way to lessen the blow as I have done exactly what you recommended and have started to document our times together. Once again, thank you for a very poignant post and all the best.

    • Thank you Don! I really appreciate it. Also know that it’s ok to respectfully disagree with me from time to time as long as at the end of the day you realize I was right (just kidding). I appreciate you being here.

  • Tony Bolder

    I would like to convey my admiration for the bravery you have shown by writing on your blog in such a calm and resourceful manner. May I also convey my condolences to you and your family.

    PS. I’m an avid follower of your tutorials Terry.

  • VWMoe

    Terry – my sympathy and condolences at this very difficult time in your life. My best to you and your family and hope that my thoughts will help all of you through…been there.

  • Tardis

    My condolences Terry in this hard time, I lost my Dad at a age of 14 and now over 20 years later all I can say is that it gets easier and there is always som little detail in my everyday that makes me laugh because it reminds me of dad 🙂 keep in there 🙂

  • Cassie Teshima

    Hi Terry – I really appreciated this blog you posted. Many times we forget to leverage technology can be a lasting memory versus thinking it is just “another thing.” When you have those pieces documented and archived, the only way they will disappear is if you misplace or delete them.

    This would make a great article in a publication that would spark how to use technology for a something to last a lifetime and more.

    Thank you for sharing you and your experiences. Sorry for your loss!

  • wgchinn

    Our thoughts are with you and yours. The passing of a parent will remind you again of what was, still is, and what lessons he taught you that were passed on to your children.In doing so he will be with you forever.

  • Carrie

    I’m so sorry Terry for your loss. I lost my Dad too a month ago today. I am feeling your sadness with you.

  • Wonderful post Terry. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to meet you IRL at Summit Live recently. Sending you many hugs at this sad time.

  • Mark Spoo

    Terry. Sorry for you loss. Your post hits home in more ways that you will ever know.

  • John Morgan

    Hi Terry, I hope your tears of sadness soon dry and morph into joyful memories of your Dad. So sorry you are going through this.