Things you wish you'd asked

divadlyNovember 13, 2005

Hi all,

I hope this is the right place to post this. When people lose a loved one, many people often think of things they wish they'd asked their parents before losing them. Because of this, I thought this might be an appropriate forum to post in.

My parents are getting on in age and we've discussed possibly compiling a "book" of sorts about them. The purpose is to ask them questions about their life,love,advice and even more trivial things like "What's your favorite...." etc and then to pass the book on to future grandchildren and great grandchildren who may not have the pleasure of knowing them personally, so that they can get a sense of who my parents were. I'm sure that such a book would bring much comfort to me and my brothers and sisters too when the time comes that my parents must pass on.

So, what are some of the things you wish you'd asked? What kinds of things do you think will be important for future generations of my family to know about my parents?

Thanks everyone :)

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There are actually books for sale with empty spaces for grandparents to fill out for their children and grandchildren.
Some of the things that I think are important are:
Genealogical information such as names, dates, places of birth etc.
Childhood experiences
Places of residency
Health issues
Life changing events in their life
Strong feelings about certain topics
Most sad events in their life
Happiest events in their life
Things that they would consider to be the most important advise that they can pass on

I read once that it is such a shame that family members sometimes never really know their loves ones until after they die. They get to know them sometimes by reading old diaries and/or letters that they may find after their loved one is gone and buried. Their relatives realize then, many feelings and thoughts that they never knew before. With email and easy telephone access, many will never have the advantage of letters or diaries to read. What you are talking about doing is something that I don't think you'll ever regret. Good for you!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 1:44AM
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I was lucky to have a genuine storyteller in my dad - I got to hear the one about the time he got grounded and spent the afternoon in the bathroom, playing with the fish my grandmother had in the bath tub (gefilte fish used to be something you made at home, not bought in a jar)

and about dad stealing his dad's old Packard, and breaking several speed records trying to get back from Atlantic City before his old man got home.

I have some of the lenses he used to grind and polish on his lunch hour while he was working at the frankford arsenal during the korean war, and the shotgun he bought during the race riots - to protect his black friends from the police.

he always knew this would happen, and tried to fill us kids up with the family history - we're both adopted, and at least one branch of the family has always referred to us as foundlings, not grandkids, which upset my father no end (it upsets them now that I come to visit them more often than their kids do - but then, if I were their kids, I don't know that I would visit them, either)

my goal for the year is to set the stories down on paper...

and hunt down as many of the supprting characters as possible, to get 'other sides' of them.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 12:02PM
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Their first memory, description of their first day of school, where their grand parents came from,when, memories & special times with them.

First job, how much they made, cost of first house, car, etc.

Mine have been gone for over 30 years & I still think of things I'd like to ask! I wish I'd used a tape recorder & camera when I visited old cemeteries with them, and many other times as well.

Equipment today offers very high quality pics 'n sound- rent one if you can't afford or don't have one. Do it NOW- don't let time get away. In years to come you'll find it's the best money you ever spent!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 12:47AM
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I wish we'd done something like this with my parents. A friend of mine did a tape of her Grandmother. The Grandmother was sick and bed bound, but her mind was sharp. Rose took a video camera on one of her visits, set it up, turned it on and started asking questions. After that, Rose's siblings would write down things they wanted to know and Rose would visit Grandma and add to the tape the new information. The Grandma's health is really bad now and her mind isn't clear most Rose is glad she has the tape..with answered questions!

Things I would like to ask my parents if it was possible?

How and where they met. I know they married not long after my Dad got out of the Army (WWII).

About their 1st home.

Who the people are in their wedding pictures.

Did they go on a honeymoon and where.

So many questions......and the time is GONE! ):

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 9:36AM
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