DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been going home more and more to see my ailing grandfather. He remains very upbeat and asks me why I have traveled so far every time I visit. He doesn't have much time left and has been told this; however, it doesn't seem to be sticking. Driving 300 miles isn't the hardest part about going home. It's not knowing what to tell him when he questions me. What can I say to my grandfather? His mind is still there, but his body is betraying him. -- Last Weeks, Detroit
DEAR LAST WEEKS: Tell your grandfather stories about your life. Tell him about your journey to visit him. Did you see anything interesting on your drive? Describe the sunrise and sunset. Tell him about your friends, your home, your job. Be selective with your stories. To the best of your ability, tell positive stories that show glimpses into how you live your daily life.
You should also ask him about his life. Invite him to tell you about his childhood, family and friends. Ask him what he liked to do when he was a child. Ask him to tell you about when he met your grandmother. Learn from him any and everything he remembers and is willing to share. Once you get him going with stories, it may be easier the next time you visit. You can ask him to pick up where he left off. With prompting, he may be able to share many gems about his life before he passes on.