Losing a loved one is something that causes such an emotional pain that you feel it may never subside. I say subside because it truly never goes away. You live with the pain for the rest of your life while asking questions like, “Why?” If something happened to you or your loved one, are you prepared in how you want to be remembered?
I recently had a distant friend lose her husband. It was from natural causes but he was only in his 40’s and it happened unexpectedly. He left behind two young children. Children that are around the same age as my children. The whole thing had me and my husband shaken. You don’t want to think about living without your spouse, your love, your other half, your life companion, your rock!
Since this has happened to my friend, my husband and I have had many conversations about what to do if something happened to one of us. The conversations are quite scary. You don’t want to think that you won’t be there for your children especially when they are so young. There are so many things that I would love to pass onto my children. If I am not here to do it physically, I need to tell someone to do it for me. Again, the conversations break my heart but also help me feel as ease.
One of our conversations is how to make sure to keep the kids constantly remembering us and making them feel as if we are there. I wanted to make sure that every year on their birthday he gives them each a special gift just from me. Every year take them on at least one memorable vacation and bring a picture of me along as if I am there too. On their graduation day, make sure to take a lot of video and enjoy an amazing, big meal afterwards. Make sure to go with them on every college visit. Check in with them on a weekly basis when they are in college.
Being present in their life consistently and constantly is what they need. When they get married make sure to give them something of mine to carry with them down the aisle so it feels like I am there. When they have kids, our grandchildren, make sure to spoil them. Tell the grandchildren how their grandmother used to do those same things with their mom. Make me present even though I can’t physically be present.
This wasn’t my first encounter with someone I knew leaving behind two little children. My aunt passed away 18 years ago, leaving behind two beautiful little girls. I was heading off to graduate school at the time and just assumed people would surround them with love and compassion. It wasn’t until last year that my cousin opened up to me about her experience through the whole thing. People surrounded her and her young sister at first and then dropped out of sight quickly. She told me that the one thing she needed the most was someone just to be there them as their father took the passing really hard. I was so thankful that she opened up to me as I know that must have been really hard for her. On the other hand, I felt completely helpless asking myself questions like “What could I have done?”
Both of these experiences really have me thinking that as difficult as these conversations can be, if you don’t have a plan to be remembered in smalls people won’t know what to do for you. I don’t know what life is going to bring to me. People seem to roll their eyes at me when I want to talk about making sure that my children are consistently and constantly being looked after “in case.” The emotional pain of losing a loved can be so strong that even as adults we don’t know how we are going to handle it until it happens.
This was a hard article for me to write to because I don’t want to think about not being here for my kids, and many of you reading this article may not want to think about it either. But what I do want to think about are my kids, and I want you to think about your kids. How do you want them to remember you? I want them always and forever to have me in their life. To know that I will always have had a love for them like I have never loved anyone or anything else. Having these conversations ensure that I will always and forever be with them.