From time to time, especially in autumn, we consider the death of our nearest and dearest. We visit the graves of those who have already departed. We also remember to meet with those that perhaps don’t have many years left, and we try to brace ourselves for any developments. Yet have you ever considered taking any steps in the event of you departing first?
In the past, I didn’t think about it at all. Even now it is not a thought that accompanies me daily. But when I first flew a plane without my daughter, I seriously considered the “what if…” Insurance is one thing. After all having something to live on is important. But the child-parent relationship is invaluable. Especially for a child that hasn’t managed to make many memories of its own. So I started thinking about what she would need most if I wasn’t there. Every weekend we take hundreds of photos and record dozens of videos, so my face and silhouette are already recorded. What she might miss is contact with me, my thoughts and my love for her. That is why I wrote a letter to her.
In this letter, I conveyed all of my feelings: when I’m moved by her, when I regret being angry at her, when she makes me laugh and how I’m going to miss her. I also wrote about the things that are important to me and that I couldn’t tell her because she was too small for that. Finally, I tried to cheer her up and give her hope for the rest of her life.
Encouraged by the flow of this first letter, I wrote similar ones to my parents and parents-in-law. They may also need to take heart if I depart before them. And there are so many things one just doesn’t say without a reason but would like others to know. The only one who wouldn’t receive a letter was my husband because I share all of my thoughts and feelings with him on a daily basis. Besides, he flew on the same plane with me, so I assumed he wouldn’t get the letter anyway.
Eventually, we got back from our trip safe and sound. Yet this experience remained my food for thought. I still keep the letters on my computer and update them once a year, especially the letter to my daughter. After all, she keeps growing, and I can tell her more and more in person, have more reasons to thank her or apologize to her. Each year, I send these letters to my best friend saying “Please deliver them to the recipients if you-know-what.” We agreed that she won’t read them, but will always remember where she has them stored and will give them to the addressees about a month after my death.
It is my gift from the beyond, a letter from Heaven that I hope for, and a message that I would like to receive myself:
“It’s all fine. You don’t need to worry. I love you and I always have. XYZ”