Yesterday I visited the graves of my grandparents — my dad’s parents — in Nuuanu.
My Grandma Ann died on Girls’ Day in 2002 in Hilo. My grandfather died in 1949; I never got a chance to meet him.
I was lucky. My grandma (above) lived with us for about two decades — and most of my childhood. She introduced me to “Days of Our Lives” when I was 5 years old and taught me how to swear without really swearing. She used to pour hot oil in my ears when they ached and let me look through her button collection and photo albums. And she was stellar in the kitchen, teaching my mom all sorts of tricks and shortcuts she uses to this day.
I spent a lot of time with my grandma, going to the Lanakila Senior Center with her and hanging out with her in the yard. (She had a way with orchids.) And when she moved to Hilo, I wrote to her all the time — about college, about my first job, about living in Chicago. But yesterday, as I sat on a brown paper bag next to her grave, I realized there are so many things I wished I had asked.
What her family was like? Where did her grandparents live in the Azores? What did they do? Was she a nurse or a phlebotomist? Why didn’t she remarry? What was my grandpa like? What was my dad like?
I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, all four of my grandparents are now gone, and I’ll never get a chance to ask those questions to any of them. It’s probably one of the few things I regret in my life.
So if you had the chance to ask your grandparents — the ones who aren’t here anymore — what would you ask them? What would you want to know?