Tuesday, March 3, 2020

I wish I'd asked more questions.

The pretty young woman standing in the middle in the photo below is my mother. She was sixteen then.

I love the expression on her face, so happy, so in love with life. I love her modest outfit and the relaxed but poised figure.

The photo was taken in Washington D.C. in 1941. I'm assuming the other two young women are friends of hers and the soldier is someone they posed with as they were seeing the sights. 

And I'm assuming that the young Dewena was  thrilled to be traveling there. A girl from a very small town in the South back then would be, don't you think? 

But I don't know for sure because I never asked her. 

My sisters and I lost our precious 95 year old mother recently. We're so glad that she is now in her heavenly home with her Lord and Savior, joining our father who went on before her. We wouldn't willingly keep her here, suffering on.

But we miss her so very much. 

I wish I had asked her so many more questions about all the old photographs I've been going through this past week. Asked and then written down more of the stories that she told me. 

I've written about my parents many times here and this week I went back and added a "Parents" label, separate from the larger "Family" label. 

She and my father were extraordinary people, part of that Greatest Generation that we're losing so many of every day. 

So many stories lost, not nearly enough of them written down, not nearly enough questions asked.

Write down as many as you can, dear friends and family.

Thank you so much to those of you who have already contacted me upon hearing the news of my mother's passing, some of you who have already left comments on my last post. And thank you to those of you who read this and leave them below. 

I wish you all could have known her.



  1. This is a treasured photo of your Mother, Dewena. The soldier standing with the women is handsome, isn't he? I'm so sorry you lost your Mom recently. How wonderful that she lived for 95 years. I really related to your post, as I used to go through my Mom's black and white photos all the time and wondered about the story behind them. I think my Mom used to like photographs as much as I do. It sounds like you cherished your Mother, Dewena, and she raised a special daughter. : )


  2. I wish so, too -- and I also wish I'd thought of more questions earlier, for my own parents and grandparents. I seem, to my grandmother self, to have been awfully incurious as a younger person.

    Maybe this kind of longing to know has to develop with age, after we have tired of trying to broadcast our own ideas or find factual knowledge, and want just our people and their stories. Every detail of their lives seems somehow very important in helping us to know ourselves. And we know so little!

  3. So very sorry to hear of the loss of your mother and my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I lost my 90 yr old Dad on 8/29/2018 and unbelieveably just a short 14 months later lost my Mom on 11/7/2020. I so understand your pain.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Dawn. My sisters and I would certainly understand what a difficult time this must have been for you. Even when our parents are quite older and maybe in poor health, we never realize how much we'll miss them until it happens.

  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother. Are you named after her? I hope that you will write more about her when you are able. I'm sure you have many stories to tell and I'd love to hear them. Sending you much love and a big hug.

  5. Oh I'm so sorry for your loss, my friend - your mom was a very beautiful woman xoxo

  6. Dearest Dewena, I am so very sorry for your loss. I pray your memories will bring you comfort over time. They did for me when I lost my mom. Sending you my sincere sympathy.

  7. What a lovely mother you had, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Your post is timely because just this week, my mother was showing me her old college yearbook. I didn’t take notes, but now I will. Thanks for the reminder to hold fast to our memories.

    You wrote what is in my heart. I feel so sad for NOT asking more questions!
    Yes, it's a great photo. Thank you for sharing this, it makes me feel a bit better to know that our moms are happy now.

  9. Dewena, I'm very sad for your loss of your mother. My father told us stories of family through many years, but I retained so little of his offered information. I regret that now. He died at 90 1/2 years so we too were fortunate to have had a parent into their 90's, but there is never a good time to lose someone we love so greatly.

  10. Excellent advice, Dewena. I also write down the information on backs of photos; someone said it would ruin the photo but the chances are better they photo will be saved if the folks are identified. During Mom and Daddy's recent flood damage in the house, the water missed Daddy's few thousand slides...thank God! I'd love to have them made into a video but he's anxious about letting them go off site.
    I am so sorry about your dear Mother, but, like you, glad she's no longer suffering. Grief isn't something we get over, it's something we get through. You and your sister's are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

  11. I also wish I had asked more questions. But some subjects were not approachable. It's nice to read about loving mother/daughter relationships. You were blessed. That is a very nice photo.

  12. Sigh, so many photos, lost faces and untold stories. I just have bits and pieces also. And, now their stories will be lost forever. Hugs, we lost my mom-in-law last week at 91...and still there are untold answers to questions, recipes, I wish we could have straightened out. Hugs to you...and I will work hard to leave more information for my kids...NOW!

  13. I feel the same way about when my grandmother left us. I had so many more questions for her. She was the first of all the 8 farm kids to go to college and she taught school in a one room schoolhouse. I always loved her stories and how she was so far forward as a women than most in her generation. She did some pretty exciting things in her life when women did not have as many choices. I love the pic of your mom. How fun how they use to wear their hair so cute and always lipstick on. Love her friends necklace in the one picture. They all looked like they were having fun.
    Have a great rest of the week.

  14. I'm sorry for your loss but understand your happiness at thinking of your parents reunited. The photo is such a happy one!

  15. Dewena, I am very sorry for the loss of your lovely mother. She was a beautiful young woman. I ask my parents (in their mid-80s) questions as much as I can. They don't always like talking about the past and live very much in the present, but I have a small collection of stories. Thank you for that reminder.

  16. always upon looking at pictures of that time I'm struck by how stylish they were. it is one of my very favorite eras for so many reasons. especially the music. it stayed with you. and it meant something.
    and you look like her!
    and I love what Sheri wrote in the very first comment...
    I feel that it's true too.
    "you cherished your Mother, Dewena, and she raised a special daughter."
    sending you heartfelt love.

  17. Sending prayers and love my friend.

    I feel the same way about my grandmothers, both of them, Vida and Martha. I did not get enough adult time with them, to ask them questions.
    I made up a book for my parents. It had over 300 questions that they had to answer. I am happy to have that, and thankful I have time to spend with them.

  18. I love this old picture, Dewena!! I love the 1940s era, the fashion, the movies, all of it. You're right about the greatest generation. People are so so different today. I know you miss your beloved Mom--I sure miss mine. It's been a year for me and I still miss her so much and I guess I always will. I am hoping those dreadful tornadoes didn't come near y'all?? Please let me know y'all are okay when you can, thanks!

  19. Oh dear. I ask myself so many times how I neglected to talk with my mother more. I lost her in 2001. I've connected with so many relatives over the years who give me stories of their own memories which fill my heart in getting to know her better. She was so young and had many stories I never heard. I'm from a family of seven, maybe we were too busy to ask, or hers to share.

    As a grandmother now, my daughter gave me a book to fill with info on my life way back when for her daughter. I've neglected it and I now know its time to spend time working on this important gift for Madelyn and her sister, Lucy.

    Thank you for a beautiful post, my friend.


  20. My sincerest sympathy goes to you at this sad time. I started genealogy after my mom passed away back in 1998, and I wish I could talk to her about the discoveries I have made about her family. There are mysteries and tragedies that could fill a book, and I don't even know if she was aware of any of them. She never told any of us about those stories. Did she even know? We all need to ask more questions when we have the chance.

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  22. I feel that I do know your precious mother, a little, through you, Dewena, through your stories and pictures of her and your father. Don't we all have something of our mother in us, either/both physical and personality characteristics, especially, as we age?

    I'm sure you will do a wonderful job of collating all the recorded material (audio, written, photos), and in doing so, it will reignite so many sweet memories.

    I always picture your dear mother in that pretty, coral outfit, looking up to the skies, stylish sunglasses softening the bright, Greek light, her white, wavy hair the colour of the fluffy clouds above, posing on that sandy pier, in Santorini, with a few fishing boats bobbing about behind her, and her huge cruise ship in the distance, sounding its horn, calling her to her next Mediterranean adventure!

    Your mama's snow white hair and passion for life, remind me of you.

    Sending love and hugs,

  23. My condolences, dear Dewena, and a big strong hug. You mother looks lovely.

  24. My deepest condolences, Dewena, to you and your family. I hope that all of your wonderful memories help to comfort you during this time of grief. Having lost both my parents, I, too, wish that I had asked more, recorded more. I'm sending you lots of love, and a great big hug.

  25. My heart condolences, dear Dewena. I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear mom. She's in a good place but, oh, what a hole she leaves behind.

    My mom is still with us and she's told us so many of the stories already. We do ask her questions about things, but I need to visit and look at photos with her one day. Who knows what else might come up that she's never mentioned before?

    With loving thoughts and wishes for comfort and grace...
    Brenda xox

  26. Dewena, I'm so very sorry to hear about your mom. I don't know how I missed this post. I read your flower post today and then rushed over to read this one. When I saw the title of your post, I thought, yes!! Exactly. I find myself now thinking the same thing all the time...I wish I'd asked more questions. So much time, so many stories, but never enough. I wish you peace with the memories you have and I wish you comfort in the days ahead. Sending big hugs your way, my friend. xo

  27. Oh, Dewena, I am sorry to hear about your mother. My mum loves to tell stories.
    She's the last of her generation so nieces and nephews as well as grands are keen to learn about the past. I've been away from blog world so I missed you post. Take care during this difficult time.


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