It’s only after a loved one has passed away that we realize all the questions we wished we would have asked.
After losing my mother unexpectedly there have been so many moments where I wanted to reach out with questions that come about from something in my day where I would have loved to compare notes with her.
…After a tough day at work, I wish I could ask my mom, “How in the world did you find the energy to work nights as a nurse so that you could be an active mom during the day?”
…When mixing up a batch of Friday night martinis, I remember as a child I loved how my mom’s voice would become soft after she had a martini. We never had one together. I wish I could pick up the phone now and ask, “How about I drop by with my shaker and some olives?”
…Once I started to find my way in the work world, my mom would say she looked forward to the day that I would take her someplace really special for a mother-daughter vacation. She never identified a destination. As I think of places on my bucket list, I so wish I could ask now “Where would you most like for me to go and take your memory with me?”
…Seeing Halloween costumes in the store reminds me of the hours my mom spent sewing a princess costume for me. I suddenly wonder with a pang, “Did it hurt your feelings when I liked the devil costume you made for my brother more than I liked the costume you made for me?”
I had more years with my father and find it is not so much questions I want to ask now that he is gone, but instances where I admired his confidence and wish we could discuss what he felt at the time.
…Driving past a house where a neighbor is riding his John Deere, brings to mind an image of my dad on his riding lawn mower with a cigar in his mouth and the family toy poodle tucked in his arm. The safety-conscious adult in me wants to ask, “Did you ever think just once that it was a little dangerous as you mowed on the hilly side of the yard?”
…Switching on the A/C in my car brings a memory of that summer vacation when we drove through Death Valley at night because our old Plymouth Fury had no air conditioning. I wonder, “Were you at all concerned about where we were going as we set out on that lonely night’s drive?”
…My dad and I got to spend some wonderful time trout fishing in cool Adirondack streams. As I walked on the beach the other day past a father showing his kids how to cast a surf rod, it made me wish I could ask my dad, “Did you know just how much I treasured each of those days that I waded in streams alongside you?”
None of these are deep, philosophical questions. I am not probing any great family mysteries. Mostly the questions reflect the love we shared and how the memories touch my life today.
If it’s been a while since you called a loved one, now is a great time to reach out and let them know the small ways they have touched your life and maybe ask a question or two.
As I think of it, I never got to have a martini with my father either…
R.A. Kroft writes about her day-to-day journey in living a smaller, more sustainable life and other topics that interest her.
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