If you still have a parent who is alive, I encourage you to read this article and take what I’m writing to heart. I’m at a point where I have already lost my father and my mother, due to dementia, is pretty much gone. So, I wish I had read (and heeded) an article like this several years ago before it was too late.
These are just some of the questions I wish I had asked my Mom. You may find this helpful in prompting your own thinking about questions to ask your mom or your dad (or someone else you care deeply about).
1. What do you most regret about your life? What would you have done differently if you could have?
Imagine the lessons that someone in their sixties, seventies, or eighties could teach you.
2. What strength do you wish you had possessed in earlier parts of your life, such as your teens, twenties, thirties, and so forth?
Notice and ask about why certain strengths repeat themselves in your parent’s answer and why other ones change.
3. What are you thinking about now…about death?
I started thinking about this question soon before my dad died and wish I had asked him. Now, as my mom is reasonably close to death, I wish I could ask her this question, too. However, it’s not a bad question to ask someone anytime, particularly as they get older. It would provide insight just knowing different people’s answers.
4. What has been your biggest disappointment in life? And, what has been your greatest accomplishment in life – so far?
Wow. Especially as your parent ages, you may receive some incredibly honest answers. Why would they need to posture at this point?
5. What do you wish you had asked your mother, father, siblings, or others before they died? What are those questions that you really wish you had sought out answers to – before it was too late to do so?
If you have a mother like mine, she has thought about things like this. Or, if she hasn’t, your question will prompt some fascinating reflections on her part. Believe me…I wish so much I had asked questions like this instead of just talking about things that flat out didn’t matter.
I have many regrets about my life, but right now, the one weighing on me most heavily is regrets related to my mom. I wish I had learned more from her when I could. These questions could have led to some of that learning.