40 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before They Die
Find Out The Answer to These Questions Before it's Too Late
There are many people who have lost a parent to COVID this past year. It is one thing to lose a parent to a long battle with terminal illness or simply of old age; it is another thing to lose a parent because of an unanticipated global pandemic that alienates you from being with them to say one last goodbye before their last, labored breaths. There are no words that can change what has happened and there are few that can provide comfort to the grieving. But those of us who can still call up our parents or swing by their house ought to consider the words of journalist Rossalyn Warren, who sadly lost both of her parents at the age of 20:
"Every so often I stumble onto one of those 'Things You Must Do Before You Die' lists, the ones that tell you about the adventures you have to take, the high-adrenaline sports you have to try, and the beautiful landmarks you must see. What never makes it onto those lists are the things like, 'get to know your parents well.' I don’t think I’ll regret not going sky-diving, or visiting the Antarctic. However, I will always regret that I didn’t get the chance to find out everything I could about my parents."
Taking this to heart, here's a list of questions to inspire memorable and meaningful conversations with your mother, father or other parental figure. We often wait until ripe old age to start asking or documenting our parents' life story. May this serve as a reminder that life is unpredictable and it is never too early to begin preserving a loved one's legacy.
Life Story Question Prompts
- Who in your family did you feel most attached to and why do you think that was?
- What advice that your parents gave you has stuck with you in life?
- When you think about your father/mother, what do you remember most?
- What was your relationship like with your grandparents?
- What did you love and hate about your childhood?
- What were you like in high school? In University?
- Who was the first person you fell in love with?
- How many times have you been in love?
- What was your wedding(s) like?
- What are your thoughts on making relationships work?
- What have your most significant relationships taught you?
- Is there anything you wish you had done differently in your love life?
- What were some of the happiest times of your life?
- What were some of the most difficult times of your life?
- What helps you overcome challenges or touch seasons in life?
- What is one of the hardest choices you've ever had to make?
- What did you love and hate about being a parent?
- What is one of your favorite memories or stories about me?
- In what ways do you hope I turn out like you? Or not like you?
- What was one of your proudest moments as a parent?
- Have you ever broken the law?
- Name 5 books that changed or impacted you greatly.
- Name a movie that made you cry.
- What is a song that always makes you want to dance?
- If you could have any meal before you died, what would you eat?
- What keeps you awake at night?
- Are there any cultural/historical events that really impacted or shaped you?
- How would you describe yourself politically?
- What do you think of the world we live in right now?
- Is there anything you regret not doing or learning?
- What is the most beautiful place you've ever been to?
- What is something you're proud of yourself for?
- If you could've done something entirely different career-wise, what would you have done?
- What's your favorite job you ever had?
- What has been the best and worst parts about getting older?
- If you could go back and live one year of your life over without changing anything, which one would you pick?
- What is something you wish you hadn't worried so much about?
- What makes you feel at peace?
- How would you describe your spiritual beliefs?
- When in your life have you felt most alive? Most yourself?