I had a very close relationship with my grandma growing up. My mum had a disability and my grandma had to help around a lot including raising me. She had a very difficult childhood and whenever we had a family gathering some of those stories would surface. Some of those stories were quite hilarious but most of them, not so much.
I think a lot of laughter was used as a coping mechanism to get through so many hardships. She was a very tough cookie but an absolute sweetheart. I owe her a lot of what I am today.
She taught me that despite the difficulties you can still grow up to be kind and to understand that we all have different journeys to go through and comparing your path to someone else is a waste of time. I learned to trust my path and my choices and to keep moving forward with grace.
Then it came the day I moved to Dubai. It was probably one of the hardest things I have done in my entire life. Leaving the comfort of my house, my family and my country to dive into the complete unknown was terrifying but my nan supported me all the way.
She was proud and happy I was fighting for a better life for myself. She was hopeful I would have a better opportunity to have a life brighter than she did. But I know she was also heartbroken and so was I.
Whenever I could, I would fly back to Brazil to see my family but most importantly to spend time with her. I knew she was developing some serious health issues and time was running out.
I remember laying in bed with her and listening to her stories. It was like when I was little. Her body was getting more and more frail but she could still hold me tight and tell me the same fun stories over and over again. Sometimes we would just cuddle and watch some soap opera she liked.
I was just so grateful for those moments because I knew they would soon come to an end. She couldn’t read or write well because she had to go to work as a child instead of school so she learned the very basic words and learned how to sign her name, but she was so wise. She had so much life in her and was by far one of the brightest souls I had ever met.
I will defintely share some of her stories with my daughter when the time comes but I wish I had written some of them down because I know some will be forgotten with time. I want to keep her legacy alive for many generations to come and in this post we will guide you through so you can do the same.
Here’s how to prepare for the conversation…
Open up the conversation with your loved ones and family members, explaining how you would love to hear more about their stories. You could even ask for permission to interview your loved one – but all of these questions do not need to be covered in one sitting.
These conversations are most beautiful as an on-going dialogue, that will enable you to hear more about each of the points that come up.
Encourage that you are really interested in all of stories that they have to say, ask “Tell me more” and leave room to answer.
There is so much we can learn especially from our older relatives, if only we make time to listen.
Here are 20 questions to ask your loved ones to keep their stories alive…
1. Tell me about your childhood.
2. What did you love to do growing up?
3. What do you remember about your parents?
Can you tell me about any stories they used to tell you?
4. What traditions have been passed down in your family?
5. How did your life change when you had children?
6. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in life that didn’t pay off?
7. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in life that did pay off?
8. How did you learn to define success? What is the meaning of success to you?
9. Is there anything you wish you did differently in life?
10. What are three events in your life that shaped who you are today?
11. What is your greatest accomplishment in life?
12. Have you ever had your heart broken? Can you tell me about that and what you learned from those experiences?
13. What have you learned about falling in love?
14. What have you learned about healthy relationships with others?
15. What topics are the hardest for you to talk about? Why?
16. How would you like to be remembered?
17. What time in your life have you felt most alone? What did you learn from that experience?
18. In what ways has your life been different than what you imagined it would be?
19. What did you fear most in life? What would you do differently if you woke up tomorrow with no fear?
20. If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you tell them?
The people in our lives hold so much wisdom and insight.
Free PDF Printable Set – 20 Questions to Ask Your Loved Ones to Keep their Stories Alive
You may want to print out these questions to help your conversation flow easier or to write down a few notes on each page, for each question.
For your convenience we have the full set available to download and print for free in PDF format
Click below for your PDF printable file
We hope you enjoy these questions, please feel free to share this link with your friends so that everyone can benefit!
Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.