Once a week I travel to visit my parents, a luxury I’m afforded in retirement. After witnessing the sudden death of my father-in-law and years of Alzheimer’s disease with my mother-in-law, I cherish these special visits even more. Morning coffee on the porch and listening to their stories give me greater insight into the man and woman behind the two I call mom and dad. With Father’s Day approaching I thought I’d share some questions that might help stir up some memories. As you listen to his stories, sit back and discover the man behind your dad. (Although this post is about dads, it can just as easily be adapted for moms as well.)
Earlier this week on my Media Monday Post, I shared a beautiful video featuring a song by Kenney Chesney called “While He Still Knows Who I Am – an Alzheimer’s Tribute”.
I knew I had his smile and his drive for business and now we share our love of gardening. His sense of humor and creativity wasn’t lost on me either, but I wanted to know more. Who was he as a boy, as a teen, as a young man? If you are blessed to still have your dad in your life, don’t put off getting to know the man behind your dad. You’ll laugh. You’ll smile. And you’ll carry a legacy in your heart that feels like he is always with you.
For so many years, we were the center of their attention – our needs, our desires, our futures, and our problems. Life and careers step in and before we know it a decade (or two) has passed us by. A story is told and it suddenly awakens you to the fact that there are things you never knew about your parents. You assume they’ve always been strong, always found things easy, always knew all the answers. I distinctly remember, after visiting my dad in the hospital, after hip surgery, looking down at his once strong and capable hands and seeing how they shook as he tried to bear the weight of his healing body upon them. In an instant, there was a shift from little girl to adult child. Then and there, I sensed the time was fleeting and life wasn’t guaranteed.
1. What do you remember about the houses you lived in as a kid? Which one did you like the best and why?
2. What’s one underrated but important skill a person should possess?
3. Looking back, is there a time you didn’t stand up for someone or something (a person, a cause) but wish you did? Why didn’t you at the time?
4.Was there a person in your life that mentored you or you desired to be like & why?
5. When you were a teenager, which family member did you go to for advice? Looking back, was it good advice?
6. What was the hardest thing you went through as a child? How did you overcome it?
7. If you could know anything about our family history or about a relative who has passed away, what would you want to know?
8. What are your best memories of holidays or family gatherings as a child?
9. What is the best thing that your grandparents/parents ever cooked?
10. If you could go back to one day in your childhood, which day would that be? Why?
Stop and listen. Feel the emotion. Watch his eyes…his hands… Let his words and body tell the story of his life and enter into it with him by your side.