My paternal grandmother lived with us when I was growing up, so I would see her all the time. She passed away when I was 17.
After she passed away, the usual thing happened of people reflecting on the deceased's life. Stories came out, particularly of when she was younger, and I was surprised at how little I knew about her.
I had all the time in the world to hear these stories from her. And like anything that has all the time in the world to happen, you don't get around to it because you can easily do it tomorrow. Instead, I remember my grandmother talking a lot, but mostly about day to day stuff that wasn't very interesting.
She had lived in a time radically different to mine and lived through events that I read about in history books (or on wikipedia). I could have learnt a lot from her. I'm sure I would have had much better conversations with her if I had asked the questions which lead to hearing stories from her life.
There comes a time where you can't ask those questions any more or hear those stories first-hand.
This is another reason why I use Awkward Silence. It's a great excuse to ask those questions now rather than at some undetermined time in the future.
We have this caricature of old people as being long-winded & boring. Some times this is true (and it's not just true of the elderly). But ask the right question and you can learn a lot from someone who has been doing life a lot longer than you have.
Will you have those conversations today? Or have you got all the time in the world to have that conversation?
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