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The Ed Asner Interview (Page 2 of 3)
An Interview with Ed Asner
EA: Observation of an elder
parent will help you find out just
what is going on. Talk with
them about what they are involved
in. And exercise greater caution and
care about checking out their mail
and checking out what they are
responding to and even checking out
phone messages. We do not do
enough butting in on parents, within
reason. I know I am so annoyed
that in our family of five kids,
none of us ever really sat our old
man down, or the old lady, and asked
what was it like, what did you do?
And of my mother in particular—How
she lived before she came from
Russia and the Ukraine. We never
GB: I agree with you. My
dad, who passed away about 12 years
ago, would be 78 now. When he became
ill, I did not want to make him feel
that I was talking about the end of
his life, yet it could have been a
great experience to tape a
conversation with him. I think that
it is a shame for the next
generations to lose that
connectivity. How would you
ask your kids to sit down and have
this conversation with you?
EA: My wonderful secretary
bought a book which leads the way in
what questions to ask. And
unfortunately, every time she asked
me a question, I went off for a half
hour responding and it became an
enormous drag to listen. And
that is what you have got to expect.
So I would advise you to buy one of
these books. They are filled
with very good questions to
stimulate the memory.
GB: I think it is good
because it does stimulate their
memory and makes them think about
things that may be lost after they
are gone; and, of course, it
connects us to our past.
EA: And it engenders in the
talker the fact that, done well
enough and done fully enough, death
will not obliterate them. I think
that is a very satisfying thing to
have. It is just that we do
not take the time.
GB: I agree and, like you
and I, we do not think about it
until after it is too late.
EA: There was an organization
and they got my mother’s youngest
sister on audio and videotape. It
may not be the most electric piece
of video done, but it is there.
It is there to go back to whenever
GB: It means something to
GB: You are obviously still very
active in your career and your life.
I am wondering if you have any
recommendations for caregivers about
helping their aging parents stay
healthy, involved, active.
EA: To the best of your
ability, you need to order them
about, making plans with them, and
get them in the habit of getting up
and about and out—checking to be
sure what fascinates them at this
point in time.
GB: I think you are right.
We do not stay involved enough.
We do not nudge enough.