When was the last time you sat down with a loved one and asked them questions about their life? Not just the day-to-day conversational questions, but the ones about the big and small moments?
For many of us, we probably haven’t had these conversations. Unfortunately, many of us put these conversations off, thinking that we have time to do so in the future, and then never do. We suggest that you don’t wait and to have these conversations early on. Find the time to sit down with those you love to ask them about their memories of growing up, what is important to them, and what they were like when they were younger. You will be thankful that you did.
Not only will these types of conversations help you become closer to your loved one, it will help build towards the harder questions, like end-of-life care and funeral arrangements. Although these conversations will be tough at times, they are so important. In order to give our loved one the goodbye that they want and deserve, they are necessary.
When we have these conversations, we may be surprised what is important to ours loved ones and what isn’t. That is important to know, especially for making decisions for them.
For conversations like these, remember that open-ended questions are the best way to get your loved one to talk. What was your proudest achievement? Who has been your greatest inspiration? Questions like these can keep the conversation going for hours.
Remember, that sometimes there might be parts of your loved ones’ life that they might not want to talk about. Don’t push them if that is the case. Maybe they will be willing to revisit that memory or part of their lives at a different date. Even if they don’t ever want to, that is OK too.
Visual prompts can be helpful, such as photos and souvenirs. They might spark the person to remember things that weren’t readily available without this visual cue.
This is also a conversation so this is also a time for you to you to share your memories, especially ones involving the loved one you are talking to.
It can be helpful to record these conversations, so long as the person you are talking to is comfortable with this. It might be helpful for remembering your conversation with them in the future, or you can share these recordings with other family members, as well as friends. This can also be a nice element to add during memorial services or family gatherings.
For additional information and suggestions on questions to ask your loved one, you can download a free workbook here