The Questions We Don’t Ask Our Grandparents

Photo by Jay Gorman

“We see our parents aging before our eyes, but we regard our grandparents as such oaks, their mortality not once entering our thoughts because they have always, to us, been old. By the time I began to realize the urgency of learning about him, he was gone. I never had the chance — or, to be perfectly honest, I had the chance but never took it — of asking him straight out about his life. I should have asked him about what drove him, what angered him or misled him, how he handled his inner conflicts, what lessons he had derived from the mistakes he had made. If we were as similar in temperament as we were made out to be, I might have benefited from his hindsight and his advice. But I never put any of these questions to him.”

— Samanth Subramanian, in Aeon magazine, on the life of his grandfather, and the questions that remained after his death.

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