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If you were approached by someone who had just found out that the end of their parent's time on Earth was near, what advice would you give them? What did you do to say goodbye that helped you? What do you wish you had done differently?
I think the biggest thing for me is I would have recorded more. Audio, video, still photos.... the whole deal. Especially audio though. Dad had cancer that had ravaged his entire body and looking at pictures from that time is kind of rough. I have one little snippet of an audio recording that was made years earlier and I nearly wore it out after he died. I wish I had made a lot of audio recordings.
My advice is to sit with your parent and get them to tell you stories. Stories from your childhood. Stories from their childhood. Family history. Whatever. Record those stories so you can listen to them again after your parent is gone.
I agree with all of the above. Don't be afraid to spend time with them near the end, its going to be really hard and scary, but you will never have a chance to reclaim those moments. Ask them to talk about their youth, your childhood, their dreams and successes. Now that my parents are gone, there is nobody to tell me about my childhood, it feels like that part of my life is missing.
My Dad died very suddenly, without much warning. If I had known, I would've just spent more time with him. I don't think anyone regrets the time they spend with a dying parent when they look back. I wish I had more pictures, video, etc. especially for my Big Boy's benefit because he will probably never remember the time he did get to spend with his Opa.
Also, for anyone else who has a strong memory-smell connection, I was always soothed by a shirt I had kept of his that smelled like him. Anytime I was stressed or sad, I would just lay in bed with my face buried in his shirt and it would help me feel like he was there.
Ry, happily engaged to Zach.
Mom to Bodhi, Brigham, and Elliott.