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One Son's Guilt Over Not Visiting His Parents Enough Birthed the Most Depressing Website Ever

How often will you see your parents before they're dead?

by Ruth Reader
Jul 24 2013, 8:25pm
Image: Flickr

We could probably all stand to see a little more of the folks every year. In case you were wondering precisely how many visits you’re likely to work in before your parents kick the can, here's, a sort of Death Clock/travel calculator combo designed to immediately induce guilt in wayward progeny across the globe.

Sound a little dark? It is. But studies show that thinking about death is actually pretty good for us. When people are made aware of their own expiration date they’re more likely to be tolerant, empathetic, and physically healthier. They also tend to help more people. That’s a lot of benefits to be had just for walking through a cemetery once in a while or as suggests, visiting the ‘rents. 

In an email, co-founder Luke Tipping explains that the idea sprung from an impromptu debate over whether to blow off a visit to his parents' house. A few weeks ago Tipping’s friend tried to coerce him into blowing off his folks in favor of a debauched weekend in London. While he was thinking it over, he crunched some numbers that few people ever bother to crunch. 

“How old are my parents? How many times do I see them a year? When are they expected to die? The number I got back wasn't big enough,” he says.

Tipping booked the first train home and shortly thereafter a new website was born. He says he’s been more present with his parents ever since. 

“I saw my parents the weekend just gone. I'm going camping with them the week after next too.”

The site Tipping built calculates how many times you’ll see your parents before they die using your number of annual visits, your parents’ age, and when they are expected to die based on figures from the World Health Organization’s life expectancy chart. It's far from an exact science, but it's enough to get you thinking about how long it's been since your last trip—or even call—home.

It’s a stark reality to confront, after all, that some of us may have as few as 15 visits left with our parents—that’s one visit annually if your parents are 66 and you live in the U.S. It's enough to make you want to book that flight home. It's only a matter of time before SeeYourFolks partners up with Expedia. Not really, though—Tipping takes his project quite seriously, and says he won't partner with any corporate sponsors.

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