Both Bill and Willie Geist have held distinguished careers as broadcast journalists. And though they're comfortable sharing news with the world, they never discussed basic father-son topics such as sex, drinking, and career paths. They joined HuffPost Live to talk about their relationship, and their new book, "Good Talk Dad."
One personal issue that Bill Geist recalled not wanting to discuss with his son early on was his Parkinson's diagnosis. For 10 years, Geist underwent treatment for the neurological disease without telling his children.
"I didn't take it seriously for a while, because denial has always worked for me and it didn't work in this case. It kind of got to the point where I had to say something," he explained to host Alyona Minkovski. "I'd always been the fun guy in class, thrown out of class, and at parties, at the office--wherever I was--I always brought, kind of brightened things up."
"It just seemed like such a drag, being known as the 'sick guy' in the office or something. And I didn't want my kids to worry too much about the future, because I didn't know what the future held."
Willie Geist admitted that he was upset when he found out his father had hid the diagnosis for so long. "I think for a while I was frustrated that he hadn't told us. I mean, how could you not tell your kids something that important?"
"But then the fact that now we knew something was wrong, because we saw he was slowing down a little bit, but thought, 'oh I guess he's just getting a little bit older.' Now you have something that you can sink your teeth into and grasp and say, 'okay, he's sick. He has a problem. How do we manage this? How do we handle this?'"
But Geist added that he admires how his father has handled his disease. "I think the incredible thing about my dad is that not only has he lived with it and worked with it for 22 years, he's worked on television with it. I mean, a lot of people I think would shrink away from that and say, 'I don't want that vision of me to be out there.' But he's been, for almost two decades, he's been on television, and he hasn't been afraid of what that was going to look like."
"And then when he finally told his audience officially, two years ago, that 'I have Parkinson's,' most of them knew, most of them could see the signs," he said. "But the outpouring of love was awesome."
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