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Memories and Regrets

(25 Posts)
jeanie99 Sat 26-Feb-22 11:17:14

As you get older and look back on the life you have had most people I guess have treasured memories of parents and loved ones. With this comes may come regret for things not said or done.
I very much regret not talking to my own dear mother(born 1907) and grandmother(born 1880) about their lives.
When we're young our lives are so taken up with living life, working, bringing up a family we forget to take time out to speak to the people who mean so much to us.
I often say to my husband it's a miracle we are here.
The pages of burial records I've checked out where babies and young children die is horrendous.
I was born in the early 1940 and life as changed so much the young today have no idea what we went through.
I could go on and on about my early life but left the comment for others to give comments.

Anniebach Sat 26-Feb-22 12:14:05

Born and brought up in South Wales with a large extended family I learned much from parents, aunts and uncles, great aunts, even my father’s cousins and their husbands and wives.

Had 4 great aunts who lived in Anglesey,N Wales,they refused to speak English so I even learned about the past anger . When I did my family tree I too was distressed that ancestors couldn’t
afford to bury little ones , I wept that two little sons died in the same week.

Luckygirl3 Sat 26-Feb-22 12:37:03

I once had an amazing conversation with my grandmother, born in the late 1800s, and it brought home to me the extraordinary changes that her generation witnessed - from horse drawn carriages to men on the moon, appearing on a screen in a box in the corner of your living room. Amazing!

She had some fascinating tales to tell.

Hellogirl1 Sat 26-Feb-22 12:41:50

My father was in the RAF during WW2, he was killed in Dec 1942,6 months before I was born. I regret never really asking my mother about him, now there`s nobody left to ask.

Lexisgranny Sat 26-Feb-22 12:58:42

I think the main thing I regret is seldom asking “Why, when and how?” Now it’s too late. I have traced my family tree to the late 1600s and written down what I know, none of my family seems particularly interested at the moment, but there again, neither was I until my late 50s/early 60s, when there was no-one left to ask.

GagaJo Sat 26-Feb-22 13:33:51

I regret not writing down or recording my grandfather's war stories. He was a cook in the army and had some unusual stories. Including one about innocently walking through a minefield.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 26-Feb-22 13:50:03

Like so many people I regret not asking questions when I had the chance. However I’m not sure I would have had many answers. My Granny, born 1890s, wouldn’t have told me very much - she was a very private person of Victorian upbringing who died when I was 15 and still very much a child in her eyes. She burned all letters. I believe I know a reasonable amount about my parents’ lives but there are things about earlier generations they might have been willing or able to answer had I thought to ask.

Juliet27 Sat 26-Feb-22 13:54:47

I have a box of letters that my dad wrote to mum when he was in Egypt during the war. I wish I’d read them when they were both still alive. I can’t bring myself to now - I know how sad it would make me.

silverlining48 Sat 26-Feb-22 14:01:50

WE can all write down our stories, including things we know about our parents and grandparents. Mine were born 1870 s, and I think it’s so interesting to think i knew and talked to someone born so long ago.
My gc can’t imagine life without tech, never mind not having a bathroom, no hot water, no car or tv, etc etc and a cobwebby toilet in the garden. With newspaper on a string.

Our own experiences are so different to our children and grandchildren, and yes all too often its left too late to ask the questions. Write it all down, it’s easy and anything forgotten can be inserted in a moment. They will be interested one day.

BBbevan Sat 26-Feb-22 14:58:36

Anniebach you sound very similar to me. Born and brought up in the valleys and my mother’s family came from N Wales and Anglesey.A farm at Malltraeth.
We moved to England when I was ten for a teaching job for my father. But I am back now. My DH has done lots of research on our families. and my children are just getting interested in it .

sharon103 Sat 26-Feb-22 15:25:06

What a coincidence jeanie99. My older brother (76) and I were only recently having a conversation about the same thing.
We have no relatives left to ask questions about their lives.
My dad never spoke of his dad. I only know he was a drunkard so life for nine children was hard. He had a wonderful mother but she died in her forties and so the family were split up.
Not a happy home life for my mum either. Her sister took her own life. She was one of eight children.
There's many questions we would like to have the answers to and like you say jeanie, in our younger days it doesn't enter our minds to ask, its only when we get older ourselves and our relatives have gone that we wonder.

Sarnia Sat 26-Feb-22 15:26:30

I agree with the OP. I have spent a huge amount of time on family history research and wish I could have just 5 minutes with them to ask the questions that would give me a few more puzzle pieces.

Redhead56 Sat 26-Feb-22 16:41:02

I always asked questions as a youngster I knew both grans and one grandad. I never met my paternal grandad he was a Scot so I was told I got my colouring from him. I loved my dad so much I wanted to know his dad but missed out as he died aged fifty before I was thought of.
My family all had hard lives probably because they had big families to feed. My dad used to say they were hard up but at least they had shoes on their feet as many children didn't.
When my children were growing up I used to tell them about family they did listen to me but never asked questions.

Yammy Sat 26-Feb-22 17:58:06

War time memories from both grandfathers and my own father[ Who would not talk about it much even when questioned.
My grandfathers were in the Royal Artillery in Egypt together when most of their friends were in the Boarder regiment but why? I know one was at Gallipoli and the other as he called it Mesopotamia he was just starting to tell me about Ur and Babylon when he died. I have never been able to find anything about either of them in records.
My own father was on landing craft taking Canadian troops onto D day beaches and I found half a letter when cleaning out my mothers house. It was from India and he was with Americans again I don't know why. I wish I had persisted with my questioning.
When I look at photos with my own family and they ask things I have no answer to I wish I had persisted.
I do my family history and know more about the lives of people in the past than my own grandfathers and father.
I have a lot of Border Reivers and would love to question them about their lives.

Rosina Sat 26-Feb-22 22:35:42

So much I would love to ask those relatives now; I had an enormous family, so many aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides, and my own dear Mum and Dad. My father made a recording of each of his siblings talking about their lives; it disappeared, lost in the mists of history years ago, but how I would love to hear them all again, and to learn about what life was like when they were young in the early part of the twentieth century.

Chestnut Sat 26-Feb-22 23:59:08

It's pretty much universal for people to wish their parents or grandparents were still here to ask questions of. I think everyone feels like that when they get older.

As stated, it is no use expecting anyone under the age of 50 to show the slightest interest in family history, although a few will even from a young age. The important thing is to leave your story behind so they can read it when they're older. And your parent's stories too if possible. Thinking about the things that have changed above all else. Everyday life as you knew it will fascinate them. Include as many pictures as you can. Mine are gloried photograph albums!

jeanie99 Sun 27-Feb-22 23:45:51

Thank you everyone for your responses.
I very much enjoyed reading about your memories of families gone by.
I've always believed it to be therapeutic writing things down which play on our minds.
My son in his 40s now is keen for me to research our family history so I have every hope the years I have spent in researching will be passed onto the next generation.
I shall also pass my research onto my brothers children and the research I have done of my husbands family to his sister for her to pass on.

Maywalk Sat 03-Sep-22 20:57:42

I am glad I have written all my tales down for any future generations to read.

I have had many coming to me from worldwide for tales that start in the 30s up to the present day.

With having gone through a war and being bombed out twice during the London Blitz in WW2 plus being machine gunned in the hop-field and on the evacuation train.

Writing my memories down has kept my brain going even though my body has dropped to pieces and I am now disabled and housebound.

I am well past 92 now but still getting requests from around the world of how things were way back in time.

RichmondPark1 Sat 03-Sep-22 21:08:25

Maywalk I can imagine that your tales fascinate listeners. Like many I didn't really take in what own family told me about the past - too busy and wrapped up in my own life until it was too late.

Then prior to retirement I started working for clients in their own homes and many of them were quite elderly. I loved listening to their stories, especially of their experiences in the war. One lady told me she'd been walking down the street to school when a plane flew along the street with a machine gun aimed at the pedestrians. A complete stranger had thrown her to the ground and then thrown herself on top of her. Luckily both her and the woman she'd never met were unharmed - but what bravery!

paddyann54 Sat 03-Sep-22 21:18:31

I only knew one GM ,my mums mum.She loved to tell stories about her childhood in Ireland,her family. her involvement in politics from an early age .She was so interesting we used to fight to see who could sleep in her room and hear her tales.
Sometimes all four of us girls would crowd in beside her and mum would have to come up and tell us to keep the noise down.
She was my hero and I loved her and miss her even now 50 years after she died .
I am so lucky that my gd's ask me about my life in the olden days and love to spend time with me .Its good that I can share my granny's stories as well as my own.

Nonogran Sat 03-Sep-22 21:21:24

My dad died young & oh how I miss being able to ask him family history stuff.

My daughter has asked me to write a journal of my life for her to read when I’m gone. I told her she can ask me anything, anytime, but she prefers it written and said she doesn’t like to “pry” by asking.

I’ve made a good start and as I tap away on the keyboard so many memories come forward it’s hard to keep up. If I have trouble dropping off to sleep it’s relaxing to run through my memories and add them to my journal the next day.
We call it “Mum, tell me.”

Sallywally1 Sat 03-Sep-22 21:24:32

I always regretted not knowing my grandmother, my mums mother, who died just before I was born. I would have loved to have had her view on my own mother who had some sort of personality disorder. They never got on. My grandmother lost all her siblings, five I think, from scarlet fever all in the same week. How horrendous that must have been.

Callistemon21 Sat 03-Sep-22 22:17:21

It's a really good idea to do this, Maywalk, well done.

It was my intention to start during Covid, I have done years of genealogical research but need to write it up in an interesting way or it will all end up shredded one day.

jeanie although I heard quite a lot of stories from my mother, there are always so many questions we wish we'd asked, aren't there.

grNadpa Wed 16-Nov-22 17:39:24

Can relate to your post Jeanie99.

In my late sister's memorabilia was a photograph of a family gathering around the Thanksgiving table circa 1952. I realized that only two of us in that picture were still alive.

All those stories lost.

So I decided to share what anecdotes I recalled about each person around that table. Specifically, for each person in the picture, I narrated short anecdotes, selected pictures and other graphics to support those anecdotes, rendered each into a two-to-four-minute video and posted them as a YouTube playlist entitled "Dinner with ...".

Since I had no video-editing experience prior to this endeavor, the videos were quite clumsy. So, at most, I expected the obligatory "like". Instead I received posts such as "I didn't know that about Grandmother." and "I smiled all the way through each one."

Since video-editing has now become something of a hobby for me, I've followed up with other playlists such as "Papa's Childhood" that reflects my experiences from the mid-1940's to mid-50's.

But now I've run out of content. So, if you'd like, I'd be happy to explore cobbling together something your friends and family can treasure as much as mine has.

grNadpa Thu 17-Nov-22 14:18:52

I think you are spot on, @chestnut . Certainly insightful. My children raved about my remembrances when I posted them. But my motivation for those anecdotes came from my late sisters old photographs -- not encouragement from offspring.