The one big regret I have regarding my parents

My mother and father are both suffering from dementia.

It hurts me and my family, of course, but we’ve just had to accept it. One of the things that I regret is not recording my parents’ stories when they were fully capable of sharing.

That’s one of the reasons I do what I do at Creative Text Solutions. I think family stories are so important. It’s an awful thing to have those stories lost because someone in your family is losing their memory or their health.

The other day, I was at the retirement home and I was showing my father pictures of an area in the north of Queensland where he grew up. Quite to my surprise, he began talking about how there were a few Aboriginal children in his class.

He was the only one in the class who got to see their settlement because, unlike the other children, he was kind and didn’t make any mean racist comments. All of a sudden, I learned a story about my father that I had never known before.

My dad has dementia, but luckily it isn’t so bad. If I show him a photo of a place he knows, his long-term memory still seems to work fine. My mother is a different story; you can’t rely on anything that she says. She gets facts in a tangle, gets people confused and can’t make the right connections in her mind. Sometimes I can untangle what she means but sometimes I can’t.

The thing is, our family was lucky. Our parents were great storytellers, so we always knew a lot about our family history growing up.

The one thing we didn’t do, which I regret, was record these stories.  

If you have elderly parents or relatives, don’t leave it too late. With all the wonderful technology we have available today, recording your relatives’ story is easier than it has ever been. If your family history is important to you, make sure you make the effort to talk to those people close to you so your family doesn’t lose those precious stories.

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