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They're really fun and you just skip whatever ones don't seem relevant. And you won't give off that awful "tell me everything because you have one foot in the grave" vibe.
Ask everything you can about her family. Record the conversations by filming these on your phone. Ask her to tell her favorite memories of her parents and grandparents. Funny stories, happy stories, sad times. Miracles she witnessed.
Holidays? Traditions? My family, who lived in the north, actually travelled by horse-driven sleigh for the snowy months.
Research the timeline of her life and ask about important events if she can remember. Where was she when she learned about the attack on Pearl Harbor? Ask lots of follow-up questions so the memories come alive.
Not long before my dad passed away, we drove to the house where his parents had married (it had belonged to his mother’s aunt). We saw a lady walking her dog and dad asked if we could stand inside her house at the bottom of the stairway where his parents had said their vows. Dad could barely walk.
At the time, I was very irritated and embarrassed ?why are we asking this stranger if we can go in her house? Etc., etc.
The lady let us in, and we all stood in the spot. Dad told us how we were all alive because of that one special moment and that very spot.
We were all crying, even the homeowner. This is a very precious moment to me now. I’m mad at myself for being irritated. That moment was a priceless gift.
The next time I saw Dad he was in the hospital suffering from a stroke. He could communicate again, but he was never the same. What I would give for even one of those hard moments!
Enjoy your mom for where she is, for who she is. If she can’t remember, just hug her and laugh. Ask her all her favorite songs from her lifetime. Play her favorite songs from her youth and adulthood on your phone. It will soothe her.
Soak up every moment that you can. Someday there will be no new memories —so fill your mind’s archives while you still can.
You WILL have a hundred questions when she's gone. The most important thing to do now is cherish your time together. What will be foremost in your mind are the moments you shared with each other.
My husband's niece talks to my husband about family history. She lost her mom as a teen and is in here 30's and full of questions now. My husband and other relatives are able to answer many of those questions. Perhaps you can use similar avenues to find satisfaction to unanswered questions after your mom is gone.
Hope some of this helps.
If you're worried about the questions you should have asked her after she is gone, write a list of them NOW and ask them. Maybe even record her answers so you'll have them to listen to forever.
Best of luck.
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