Letters to My Children – Because You Never Really Know
Is it strange that I just created a folder on my desktop titled “In Case I Die”? The best friend of a friend of mine just died of a brain aneurysm – one more of the dozens of reminders over the last few years about how finite our lives are. Of how little control we really have over our life (or our death). Part of it is getting older and realizing that my body isn’t invincible, after all, and part of it is the feeling of being indebted to children whose lives would be so heavily impacted by my death. It takes me about 2 seconds of thinking of my own death, in relation to my children, to produce a tear. Maybe not even that. (And even less if I think of the opposite). I often think about how easily I could now make myself cry if I were an actress playing out a sad scene. Becoming a mother deepens your emotional capacity oh, I don’t know, like 968%.
If I can’t control when or how I go, the very least I can do is do a little prep work so that my children aren’t left totally without me. And so I’m writing them both letters that will be located in an easily accessed folder on my computer, just in case… because you never really know.
As I began to write, it dawned on me that I really wasn’t sure about what tidbits of information I wanted to write in stone. How would I begin to encapsulate, in a letter, who I was in a way that they could feel? So that [even in the teensiest, weensiest way] it would fill the piece of them they were left without? Would it be full of memories and my analysis of who they were? Would it be words of wisdom that I’ve gathered throughout my life? Would it be a vision of them in the future I wouldn’t physically be present for? One thing I knew for certain was that it would be a great chance to clearly explain and define the values I so hope they’ll develop in life: self assurance, love, compassion, kindness, and recognition that they are stewards of the earth – just to name a few. And also that I would start the letter off with my deepest, heart-filled apology, followed with my deepest, heart-filled, and unconditional, love.
I’m going to go give them both an extra tight squeeze and do my damndest to remember, every day, how grateful I am to have them.
And when I’m finished with theirs, I’m going to write one for my Mister. And when I’m done with his, I’m going to write one for my parents. And brothers. And extended family. And friends. It might take me until I’m 80, but eventually, they’ll all be written.