Personal – 3 Beings Who Are Gone that I Want One More Day With

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October // 3 beings who are gone from your life that you’d love to have one more day with.  What would you do or ask them about?

This feels like a trick question.  Who in your life has died that you care enough about to feel you need more time with?  It’s a hard one for me because I actually don’t have a lot of people in my life who have died – as a woman in her mid-thirties, having two living grandmothers feels like a very strange thing.  I haven’t had a lot of other relatives die, and so I’m left with actually only three choices!

  1. My Maternal Grandfather – This is the grandfather that died when I was 8 years old.  I don’t have strong memories of him, but I’ve heard a lot about him from my mom and that side of the family.  If I had more time with him, I would ask him about his work, and what he thinks of how I’ve turned out.  I have a feeling it would be a very strange conversation, because I was only a little girl when he died, and having experienced conversations with other people who only knew me as a little girl…it’s odd.  I’m not sure he would even recognize me.  But it would still be fascinating.
  2. My Paternal Grandfather – My dad’s father died when I was a teenager, and we were much closer.  I think he would be curious to hear how things turned out for me – college, grad school, career and love.  We would probably spend the day fishing while we talked, since fishing was one of his favorite past-times.  I would squirm like I did as a child when forced to hook a worm, but it would be exciting for that moment when you get a bite and turn to the other person and say, “I think I’ve got a bite!”  I can just picture his smile.  It would be a really nice day.
  3. Toby (dog) – I think this question was deliberately written in such a way for people who care a lot about their pets, and wish they could cuddle them for all of the days.  Obviously I have a pet now (Winston, the jerk), but I have a feeling that when he goes at some point in the distant future (oh cats, and their long long lives), I will be sad, but not crushed because he can be a pain.  But our family dog when I was in high school, college and beyond was Toby, a beautiful black lab who lived to be very old for such a big dog, but who acted like a puppy until the last year of his life.  I’m not sure what I would do with him given a full day.  Take him for a long walk, probably.  Give him treats and a rawhide bone.  Stroke his soft ears as long as he let me, and let him stand his paws on my feet the way that sometimes happened.  It would be a very chill day.

Notice how I didn’t mention asking my grandfathers anything.  Because if I were to ask them things, it would be the same thing – what life advice do you have?  What can you tell me about our family going back?  They aren’t complicated questions, and they are ones that I feel comfortable asking.  I wouldn’t ask about what comes after life, because I’m really not that interested in knowing that in advance.  What happens, happens, and I can’t change it.

But maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong.  If you had a chance to talk to someone you loved who had passed – what would you ask them?  How would you spend your time so as not to waste it?  What am I missing?

Details: This post is part of Project Reverb 2017, which sends out monthly (and sometimes daily during a month-long challenge in December) writing prompts for bloggers. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here.

3 Comment

  1. Nicole Holstein says: Reply

    It’s funny because even if I had my great-grandfather back (who is really the only person in my life who has died), I don’t think I would know what to ask him. He died right after I moved to DC, but he was capital-M, capital-F “Mountain Folk”, and the mere idea of living outside the tiny geographic area where he and literally my entire ancestral line since we crossed the Atlantic has lived was mind-boggling to him. Every detail about my life was so foreign to him, he couldn’t really process any of it. He neither cared about nor paid attention to anything beyond the immediate lives of his family, so we never really had anything to talk about at all.
    But I would like to know more about his young life. He married 4 times, the first time very young to a woman even younger (she was 14 and that was not uncommon). They were subsistence farmers in the mountains. Assuming I got a day with a physically and mentally fit version of him, I would want him to teach me what he knew about gardening/farming. He used to do a lot of handi-work, so I would want him to teach me as many of those skills as he could, like canning. What did he think about the women he married and the course his life took? And I would definitely want to record every tidbit he could remember about our lineage (record keeping in early 20th and 19th Century Appalachia was…not the best, as you can imagine, so our family tree is kind of a mess, filled with best guesses and conflicting records).
    It would be kind of pointless to ask what he thought of my life, I think. The things he did understand would either alarm him or he would disapprove of.

    1. maggie says: Reply

      I think that idea of having more direct information about the family is the biggest thing I would want. And the potential of being able to record that kind of family information is probably invaluable in ANY family!

  2. Beverly says: Reply

    You would be surprised at how much you would have in common with my father. He would have been so interested in what you have done with your professional and personal life. He was someone who was a deep thinker and one who read widely. Your scientific interests would have been something that would have been the source of many conversations. I know he would have loved your choice of life partner too! He was such an anglophile having spent all of WWII in England. And, guaranteed, he would have told you a lot about his family and everything he knew. In fact, he kept a lot of records, all we need to do is go through the collection of documents he left behind. We spent many hours together the documents he collected trying to make sense out of them. I’m sorry you never had a chance to really have a good conversation with him because he was a master at that.

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