By John T. Catrett, III
If you are fortunate enough to have one or both of your parents, I encourage you to read this article and take what I am sharing to heart. At this point in life I have already lost my father and my mother, so I wish I had read (and heeded) an article like this some years ago.
These are just some of the questions I wish I had asked my mother and father, and grandparents. Even if I had asked these questions decades ago, did I remember? If so, I should have had a journal in hand to note their answers! You may find this helpful in prompting your questions to ask.
What, if anything, would you have done differently in your life? What do you most regret about your life? Imagine the valuable lessons that someone in their sixties, seventies, or eighties could teach you. What are your personal strengths do you wish you had possessed in earlier parts of your life?
Do they vary at all from one decade to another? Pay attention to strengths that repeat themselves in your parents’ answers and ask about them versus others that change. What do you think about now? Do you ever think about death? I began to ponder this question soon before my mother passed and sincerely wished I had asked her. Asking about one’s thoughts of death are excellent inquiries.
These answers may become more interesting as we get older. It would provide fascinating insight just knowing different peoples’ answers. Please keep in mind those depending on the person; this can be a subject to broach gently. Try volunteering your feelings first to spark a dialogue.
What has been your biggest disappointment in life? What do you hold as your greatest accomplishment so far? It is entirely possible you will receive some honest answers, which may even surprise you. What do you wish you had asked those close to you before your loved one died? What questions do you wish you had sought answers to before it was too late?
If you have a mother like mine, she contemplates deeply about subjects like this. Alternatively, if she is not, your question will prompt some fascinating reflections on her part. Believe me; I wish so much I had asked questions like these instead of talking about things that didn’t matter much in the big scheme of things.
This writer has many regrets about life, but right now the one weighing on my heart most is what I never asked my mother. I wish I had learned more from her when I had a chance. These questions could have helped me learn more about this precious lady.