Nobody wants to talk about dying and leaving their young children behind to pick up the pieces. But guess what!
Everybody's doing it.
Dying, that is. Eventually.
My 5 year old is grieving the loss of her biological father. Some days she just talks about him. And then there are days like today when she just sobs.
As a mom this totally sucks. My maternal instincts connect and feel her pain; and then I get hit with the adversarial emotions that often come with an ex. And then the frustration.
I like to turn my frustration into solutions. My regrets into hope for others. Now it is our turn. Your turn. My turn. To do something right for our children while we can.
Tell them how you feel.
Oh yes, this sounds like a good idea. I'll do it this weekend. Or in a few months. It's not like I'm dying anytime soon.
No, you'll do it now.
Seriously. Right now.
Please check your email for a copy of what you just wrote down. Please think ahead about who should hold onto this precious document for you. There is nothing wrong with sending a copy to multiple relatives and trusted friends. Just hit the Refresh button to write a letter to each of your children.
Don't deny it.
If you are in poor health and have been given a timeline from doctors, one of the most helpful things you can do is accept it and tell your children yourself.
Give your kids as much time as possible to say the things they want to say, to ask the questions, to make the memories. If you're denying you're going to die, you're expecting a lot from the people who will be raising your child. They will have a lot of explaining to do, and they may even be perceived as the enemy or the cause of your passing. Give your kids a chance to process things along with you; allow them to pre-grieve.
And that's it.
The inheritance, the debt, the lawyers, the paperwork, the logistics... not nearly as important as the psychological well-being of our children.
What if my children are adults?
Your adult children need this, too. If you have experienced the helpfulness of sagely advice from your Mom or Dad, consider that your adult children will want this, too. If you haven't, you know the hole that your children will feel. Leave a letter for them that they can rely on in tough times.
What if I want to show them the letter now?
Go for it! Deep, meaningful communication is a beautiful thing! You can absolutely start the conversation TODAY that will build your child's self-esteem, and will show them that you're a REAL person, and will bring you closer and closer to your kids and family.
Angela's Musings about Public Education, Web Design, Business.