Why don’t we ask more questions?

Last week I attended the funeral of a very much loved Aunt. It was more of a celebration of her life, and the preacher discussed how she had as a young woman worked in amateur dramatics. After there was a beautiful and touching pictorial of her life, it struck me, why do we have to sometimes wait for people to pass to find out how exciting their younger days were, before they became, Wives, Mothers, Fathers, Grandfathers?

This has really got me thinking, I remember 5 years ago Jack was working on a project about the war, Chris and I both asked our only living grandparents at the time, what their lives were like in the war. I could not believe the stories they told us.How Chris’s great Granddad had cleared prisoner of war camps, the agonizing sorrow he must have felt completing this task.

How my Nan had been evacuated several times during the war, she was put on a train as a young child and sent to live with strangers. How her School was scheduled to take part in a singing contest with other schools in London, her school pulled out of proceedings at the last minute. The venue with all the children in it was tragically bombed that day, but for the grace of god my Nan would not have lived past that day as so many others did not.

Our elders are like walking History books, filled with wonderful and not so wonderful memories that should not be in time forgotten, but recorded and celebrated as part of who we are. And where we come from.

I love watching call the midwife as it is based in Poplar in the East End of London. This is where my Dad my was born and raised, whilst watching I wonder what life was like for my Nan and Granddad having babies and young children, living in the East End of London at that time. Why don’t I stop wondering and ask my Nan?

I know she would love to tell me all about it. I have talked to my Nanny Smith about her younger days more than my other Grandparents, and when she has told me stories of her youth, she has lit up, been animated, as she lived and shared those precious long ago memories.

I understand now more than ever in my life that memories are real, when I was younger it was as though memories of family members older than me were fictional, after all they happened before I was born ! they were not real to me. I now understand these memories are so alive in our mind’s, and some feel like only yesterday.

If I have learnt anything, sat in that Chapel in Essex last week. It is to make the most of our living, treasure them, ask questions and listen. I wish I had asked more questions of loved ones I have lost, I now see that as missed opportunities in my life.
But as for my one remaining grand parent, every time I see her, she will now feel as though she is under interrogation so she leaves no memories unspoken or shared to pass to the next generation.



  1. tins and trinkets
    16th March 2014 / 10:34 am

    That was lovely Sarah. That’s why it’s so important to give our children the opportunity to create their own happy memories for later life x

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