We all had very different childhood experiences, and very different parents.
For some people, childhood was a beautiful, nourishing time in their life, and they had supportive, loving parents
For others, however, the opposite may be true. Childhood may have involved pain and trauma, with parents who might have been dysfunctional, abusive, distant or absent.
This article therefore needs to be read in context of your unique situation. It is written with love, to support each of us to think about what things we uniquely feel are important to say to our own parents before they die.
It is a guide post, a prompt. Above all else, first and foremost, listen to your own intuition about what you need to or want to communicate to your parents. It is your journey, let your own heart lead it.
Also – special mention and love to those readers who parents may have passed away already. If there is anything you wish you could have said to your parents when they were alive, consider writing them a letter, knowing their soul will receive your message and intention even though they aren't with you in this physical realm.
5 Things to Consider Telling Your Parents Before They Die
Your true thoughts and feelings
As children we may not necessarily have had the space or permission or someone listening to us… to express what we really thought, wanted, needed or how we felt.
As adults, there may be things we need to say to our parents. It's not always necessarily about “getting it off our chest” for our benefit, sometimes the things we need to say can be very healing for both parties.
You may have viewpoints, experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings that you intuitively know are important to tell your parents about, whether those are good, bad or ugly.
You're allowed to speak your truth, to speak the shadows of things that haven't been discussed about your relationship with them.
There might be hard things to talk about.
Consider whether you would feel complete and your relationship would feel complete if you didn't say anything? Whether it would help with bonding, healing, closure or with connection if you did say something?
The most important thing to know is… you have permission to express yourself and to communicate in a way that you'll have no regrets.
Points of Gratitude
If there is anything you appreciate about your parents, your relationship with them, about your upbringing, specific times in your life or memories, or anything current day, consider expressing that gratitude to them directly.
You might think they already know if you love them, or they already understand if you're grateful. But there's something very complete about saying the unsaid, about having the chance to let your heart be fully open and expressed.
Consider if you do have anything specific you're grateful for about or toward your parents.
Time is precious, life is a gift, and life is not forever, so consider speaking up and sharing what you're grateful for.
Acknowledge their Humanity
Being human is messy. Very few people “get it right”. We are imperfect beings. Some of us are consciously trying to be better people, some people are not trying at all.
Either way, we're all going through this journey of life trying to figure it out as we go. That's true about our parents, as much as it is for everyone else.
Most of us are heavily conditioned in our mindset and emotional state in our very early childhood years, and that goes for each of us and our parents.
If we have very loving parents, it's likely they learned some of their behaviors growing up. If we have had dysfunctional parents, it's likely they learned some of their behaviors growing up. It's not to say that being a good or bad parent is conditioning only, as we each have free will, choices and the opportunity to learn, heal, grow and contribute. But when we understand the messy nature of being human, and how we're all going through our own inner challenges, conscious or unconscious, it gives us a little space to realize the humanity in our parents.
If you've struggled in any way with your parents, and their behaviors or how they've treated you, or past interactions that have left you hurt, listen to your intuition as to whether a conversation with them about this might be healing for you (and also quite possibly healing for them). That conversation might involve acknowledging their humanity, that everyone is trying to figure their way through life, and we make mistakes and get things wrong.
Forgiving someone takes immense consciousness and courage, and a level of perspective and love to be honored.
Forgiveness sets you free. It is a gift you give yourself, to help heal and release the past, so you can be fully present now.
So if you're feeling resentment, hurt or pain toward your parents, and you don't want to carry that burden any longer, consider whether forgiveness may offer you that emotional freedom you seek.
Forgiveness doesn't absolve them of wrong doing, and it doesn't pretend what happened wasn't important. Forgiveness simply says, I choose to be free. Click here for a deeper look at the power of forgiveness (when, why and how to forgive).
Is there something you've said or done toward your parents that you're carrying around and feeling bad about? Anything that has adversely impacted them and you want to clean it up?
Apologizing is a courageous thing to do. It doesn't in any way indicate that the person apologizing is bad, worse, less than, weak or wrong. It shows significant character and heart to say “This happened and I'm sorry”.
It is authentic, loving, and healing.
Add something to the list? What would you want to share with your parents before they die?