Is there anything you would like to know about your parents, partner, close friends or even your kids, that you will regret not having asked if they died suddenly? Is there anything you will regret not having told them, like I love you just the way you are, or I forgive you? Is there a holiday you will one day feel you should have gone on together, or simply wished you had spent more time together? I have hundreds of questions for my parents, but somehow never feel like it is the right time to ask them when we are together. The older I get, the more this happens. Funerals and eulogies are full of family and friends trying to put the pieces of someone’s life together. So often I have learnt things about the people I love at their funeral, and I hear, OMG, I had no idea they had done this or that. One of my parents is a little hard of hearing now, although won’t admit it or even consider getting a hearing aid, so to ask questions and talk about really meaningful things would almost have to be in the form of a letter now, which is almost too impersonal. There are things about my own life I now need others to fill in the blanks for me, and this too is strange and unsettling. There is currently an advertisement on television for an ABC program based on a Sebastian Faulks novel, and it says Our memories are our greatest ally. So what does this mean when you can’t recall your memories? What is my ally, if I don’t have my memories? At least as a writer and blogger I can refer back to my writings to remind myself, even if I can’t remember everything. My words will be there for the planning of my eulogy too! At university one of the writing exercises was to write our own eulogy. It is quite difficult to do, and the whole class struggled with it, not so much the notion of being dead, but the idea of what you would want said at your own funeral. I dare you to try it. An older friend of mine wrote hers, and has given it to me to read at her funeral, but I suspect the family will want to revise it as it reads more like a CV for a new job than something personal. They might also prefer someone from the family to read it, not me, although will probably respect her wishes. It won’t matter to me; I’ll be very sad when she dies and honoured to read it, and equally honoured to listen to it being read by a family member in a celebration of her life and love. Writing a eulogy, about someone you have loved, is very healing, and can also help to bring estranged families together at a time of sadness and loss. I often recall a poem that starts something like this; If you’ve a grey haired mother (or father, beloved friend or aunt), then visit them and talk to them. Ask the questions you’ve always wondered about, don’t hold back, even if it hurts. It will also heal. One day, it will be too late to ask.